Volumetric Additive Manufacturing with Microwave Radiation

Saptarshi Mukherjee | 22-FS-030

Project Overview

The recent development of light-based volumetric additive manufacturing (VAM) technology has enabled rapid 3-D printing of optically transparent resins in a single step. However, there is growing interest in employing other materials that extend the design space of VAM to opaque, scattering, and composite materials. We proposed a novel concept to volumetrically process non-optically transparent polymer resins and powder-based ceramics by focusing microwave radiation.

As part of this project, we investigated the feasibility of localized thermal curing of optically translucent, scattering, and opaque polymer composite resins using a high-power microwave applicator system. We performed numerical simulations to demonstrate microwave energy localization that were supported with experimental results on resins loaded with a wide range of additives. Beam-steering algorithms that can control the microwave energy delivery to match a desired volumetric shape showed the potential use of this experimental curing method in the development of a microwave VAM system.

Mission Impact

This project supported LLNL's Manufacturing process-development priority of the Accelerated Materials and Manufacturing Director's Initiative and core competency by developing an advanced manufacturing (AM) method for volumetric printing of optically opaque polymer materials, relevant towards emerging fields such as flexible electronics and composites. This research led to institutional capabilities of a new AM technology, well-aligned with different technology tracks of the Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory such as "AM processes" and "New Materials."

Publications, Presentations, and Patents

Mukherjee, S., et al., 2022. "Focused Microwave Radiation for the Localized Curing of Polymer Resins." Proceedings of 2022 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation and USNC-URSI Radio Science Meeting (AP-S/URSI), Denver, CO, USA, 2022, 159-160, doi: 10.1109/AP-S/USNC-URSI47032.2022.9886029. LLNL-JRNL-645325.

Schwartz, J., et al., 2022. "Localized Curing of Thermoset Composites via Microwave Irradiation." I2022 Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin, TX. July 2022. LLNL-JRNL-645325.

Mukherjee, S., Chang, T., Tringe, 2021. J. A Microwave Volumetric Additive Manufacturing System. Record of Invention IL-13688, U.S. Pat. App. No. 17/518, 115.

Schwartz, J., Mukherjee, S., Emer Baluyot, 2022. Microwave Additive Manufacturing Technologies. Record of Invention IL-13767.