The chemical, mechanical, and physical properties of 3-D printed materials composed of TiO2-ABS nanocomposites
Zeeshan Ahmed, Matthew Skorski, Jake Esenther, Abigail E. Miller, Hartings Mathew
3-D printing has captured the imagination of many and has enabled a culture of makers. The ability of this process to generate intricate structures from polymer filaments has led to interest from home enthusiasts as well as laboratory scientists. From a chemists perspective, the printed model is just that, an inert object with little chemical value. To expand the chemical capabilities of 3-D printed structures, we have produced and printed polymer filaments that contain inorganic nanoparticles. TiO2 was dispersed into ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and extruded into filaments with 1.75 mm diameters. We produced filaments with TiO2 compositions of 1%, 5%, and 10% (w/w) and printed structures using a commercial 3-D printer. Our experiments suggest that ABS undergoes minor degradation in the presence of TiO2 during the different processing steps. We tested the mechanical properties of the printed materials. The measured strain and Youngs modulus for all of the composites are similar to that of structures printed from the pure polymer. TiO2 incorporation at 1% negatively affects the stress at breaking point and the flexural stress. Structures produced from the 5 and 10% nanocomposites display a higher breaking point stress than those printed from the pure polymer. TiO2 within the printed matrix was able to quench the intrinsic fluorescence of the polymer. TiO2 was also able to photocatalyze the degradation of a rhodamine 6G. These experiments are among the first to display chemical reactivity in nanocomposites that are printed using commercial 3-D printers, and we expect that our methodology will help to inform others who seek to incorporate catalytic nanoparticles in 3- D printed structures.