Impact of material concentration and distribution on composite parts manufactured via multi-material jetting

Nicholas Alexander Meisel, David A. Dillard, Christopher B. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: Material jetting approximates composite material properties through deposition of base materials in a dithered pattern. This microscale, voxel-based patterning leads to macroscale property changes, which must be understood to appropriately design for this additive manufacturing (AM) process. This paper aims to identify impacts on these composites’ viscoelastic properties due to changes in base material composition and distribution caused by incomplete dithering in small features. Design/methodology/approach: Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) is used to measure viscoelastic properties of two base PolyJet materials and seven “digital materials”. This establishes the material design space enabled by voxel-by-voxel control. Specimens of decreasing width are tested to explore effects of feature width on dithering’s ability to approximate macroscale material properties; observed changes are correlated to multi-material distribution via an analysis of ingoing layers. Findings: DMA shows storage and loss moduli of preset composites trending toward the iso-strain boundary as composition changes. An added iso-stress boundary defines the property space achievable with voxel-by-voxel control. Digital materials exhibit statistically significant changes in material properties when specimen width is under 2 mm. A quantified change in same-material droplet groupings in each composite’s voxel pattern shows that dithering requires a certain geometric size to accurately approximate macroscale properties. Originality/value: This paper offers the first quantification of viscoelastic properties for digital materials with respect to material composition and identification of the composite design space enabled through voxel-by-voxel control. Additionally, it identifies a significant shift in material properties with respect to feature width due to dithering pattern changes. This establishes critical design for AM guidelines for engineers designing with digital materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)872-879
Number of pages8
JournalRapid Prototyping Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 9 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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