3D Printed "Perfect Particles"

Author Last Name: 
Karen Hapgood, Jun Zhang, Negin Amini
Report Type: 
Research Area: 
Particle Formation
Publication Year: 
Publication Month: 

Executive Summary

The renewal IFPRI project revolves around utilizing 3D printing as a means to procure tuneable particles for the purpose of advancing particle technology. There are a number of advantages to this approach. Firstly, it provides accurate data for the particle properties which can be entered into a simulation, for comparison against the real experiment. This provides more precise results than the typical approach of measuring existing, non-identical particle properties. Secondly, an infinite number of experiments destructive in nature (i.e. breakage, dissolution) can be replicated to test a particle under the identical conditions.


In the previous IFPRI project, only agglomerate breakage was investigated and validated with a DEM simulation.


In year one of this project, the quasi-static compression tests of a random spherical agglomerate 3D printed in colour was carried out to investigate the distribution of strength. Soft, rigid and a hybrid mixture of both soft and rigid materials were used for the agglomerate bonds to determine the optimum bond material to prevent individual particle breakage, something which had not been previously observed. Further tests were undergone on agglomerates containing internal voids within the structure. X-ray tomography of our 3D printed particles as well as real granules were obtained for set up future projects.


In year two of this project, we report progress on 3D motion tracking of particle breakage, photoelastic polymer discs and 3D printed porous substrates for analysis of the wetting behaviour. All 3D printing files for the particle models have been uploaded onto our Thingiverse account. This report summarizes the progress made in the second year of the renewal project and provides a summary of the remaining work for the final year.