New award for the “AMA” PhD project

The Industrial PhD project called Advanced Materials for Additive manufacturing is awarded by SAMPE Italy for participating in the SAMPE Europe Conference

The Industrial PhD project called AMA (Advanced Materials for Additive manufacturing) is awarded by SAMPE Italy for participating in the SAMPE Europe Conference to be held in Baden/Zurich from 29 to 30 September. The event involves, among others, partners such as Airbus, Boeing, JEC group, Evonik and Suprem.

The AMA project, carried out by Dr Claudio Tosto at the University of Catania under the tutoring of Professor Gianluca Cicala, is carried out in collaboration with a foreign partner (University of Limerick) and an Italian company, ACS (Advanced Composites Solutions).

In the latter location, hybrid 3D printing systems were studied and implemented for the manufacture of composites having hollow geometries. The lamination of various parts with more or less complex shapes and of industrial interest (i.e. internal ducts, handlebars for mountain bikes) took place by eliminating the use of metal molds and using exclusively 3D printed mandrels.

The formulation of new AM materials, filaments and photocurable resins, took place at the Polymers and Composites Laboratory of the DICAr (Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture), of which Prof. Cicala is responsible, where there are several 3D printers (FDM, FFF, LCD and PolyJet).

The formulation work explored the use of new materials for filament printing, also making use of the extrusion lines (double and single screw) that the group is equipped with. In addition to the classic FDM/FFF process, a new process, the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), has recently appeared in the AM scene as a technique that can compete with mass manufacturing. In the laboratory, new materials have been studied that are able to withstand modest thermal stress conditions (see applications in the automotive field). Therefore, the contribution of polymer blends formulation was essential, the fruit of which has been seen in the creation of products capable of having thermomechanical properties significantly superior to the blends currently available for LCD printing [C Tosto et al. Polymers, 2020, 12, 1595. DOI: 10.3390/polym12071594].

Thanks to the involvement of the industrial partner (ACS), a series of works were carried out in the composite processing center located in Tortoreto (TE). Here Claudio Tosto carried out the phases of lamination, curing in an autoclave and the study of 3D printed mandrels removing. From the observations of the times and costs of the classic composites manufacturing process (through the adoption of metal molds) and of the process 3D printed-enabled (through the adoption of removable mandrels), not indifferent cheapness has been highlighted, published in two papers in collaboration with the company [C. Tosto et al. Macromol. Symp. 2020, 389, 1900069. DOI:10.1002/masy.201900069 / G. Cicala et al. Macromol. Symp. 2021, 395, 2000256. DOI: 10.1002/masy.202000256].

The selection of Claudio Tosto's work took place through participation in the SAMPE Student Competition. The evaluation commission, composed by Professor Luigi Torre (University of Perugia), past global president of SAMPE, by Professor Roberto Frassine (Polytechnic of Milan), president of Assocompositi and by Professor Alfonso Maffezzoli (University of Salento), representative of the SAMPE Italy, evaluated and selected the works of the two doctoral students Claudio Tosto (University of Catania) and Fabrizia Cilento (University of Naples Federico II).

Participation in the SAMPE event will allow young researchers to exhibit their winning projects and create virtuous connections in the European panorama of composites, essential for continuous and excellent research.

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