Semester of Graduation

2020 Fall


Master of Science (MS)


Cain Department of Chemical Engineering

Document Type



Additive manufacturing allows the rapid process of complex objects with excellent design flexibility. However, the products often exhibit poor mechanical properties when pure polymer is applied as printable material. In this work, we demonstrate that printability of polymer can be dramatically improved when particle filler is added to form reinforced polymer composites. Furthermore, the interaction between filler and polymer matrix leads to the enhancement in mechanical properties of the printed product. The material reinforcement induced by addition of fillers enables the wide application of polymer composites to print structures with unique features. In the printing of silica-reinforced pNIPAM composite, we demonstrate that spatial reconfiguration of the printed monolayers upon increasing temperature is governed by the local geometry, which allows mimicking the reconfiguration of plant leaves in natural environment. In the printing of lignin reinforced zein composite, we illustrate the enhanced biodegradability of printed structures under ambient condition, which enables the lignin-zein composite as excellent alternative to non-degradable plastics. This work lays a foundation for developing new fabrication platform to print customized structures which may find potential applications in biomedical devices, sensors, and electronics manufacturing.

Committee Chair

Bharti, Bhuvnesh