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25th October 2019, Cleveland

High-resolution printing with AGM’s Structural Ink

AGM Structural Ink printing. © AGM

AGM Structural Ink printing. © AGM

Latest testing has demonstrated significant uplifts in composite fracture toughness levels across a range of commercial prepreg systems that are commonly specified for industrial and high-performance sports applications.

AGM’s Structural Ink is a new technology that enables the targeted uplift of interlaminar toughness in composite components by means of the high-resolution printing of graphene enhanced “structural” inks. The technology is said to offer the ability to deploy graphene with high precision, specifically reinforcing the regions of a composite structure that are most prone to interlaminar matrix failure over service life. Combining this capability with negligible overall weight penalty, provides end-users with the potential for a highly weight, cost and design efficient additive toughening technology.

Following the conclusion of a NATEP project (UK National Aerospace Technology Programme) which demonstrated the initial feasibility of Structural Ink, Applied Graphene Materials has embarked on an ambitious programme, working with selected industry partners, to increase the technology readiness level. AGM and its partners looked not only to optimise the graphene material properties but, in parallel, to prove-out a robust and scalable printing technology that could underpin wider exploitation along the entire composites supply chain.

Typical performance gains in fracture toughness. © AGM

Typical performance gains in fracture toughness. © AGM

At the conclusion of the latest round of prove-out work, Structural Ink demonstrated significant and repeatable uplifts in G1C fracture toughness over a broad spectrum of commonly used epoxy prepreg systems, with deposition loadings typical at or well below 1g per m2, according to the company.

AGM now plans to progress Structural Ink technology along two business development streams. Firstly, based on the latest prove-out trials and direct customer feedback, some early commercial applications are anticipated over the coming months. In parallel AGM will be further developing the technology with ambitious and global composites businesses, optimising ink formulations to specific customer requirements and adapting the baseline printing technology to meet higher volume production requirements.

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