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Applications of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) in Additive Manufacturing (AM)

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, was once considered only suitable for production of prototype parts but is now finding applications in production of functional parts. Recent advances have made it a promising manufacturing approach because it can produce lightweight plastic parts with less scrap and waste compared to conventional molding techniques. However, the strength and other performance characteristics of parts produced with additive manufacturing are still often inferior and difficult to predict.

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has long been used in the study of conventional polymers and polymer processing methods. Now, it is being applied to additive manufacturing to investigate how the morphology and mechanical properties of these parts at the nanoscale and microscale relate to their macroscopic properties. Download the application note to learn about:

  • Current challenges in the additive manufacturing of parts from polymer materials
  • How AFM can be used to characterize and distinguish fillers and additives in the polymer
  • How AFM can be used to study the interfacial properties between build layers
  • How AFM is being used to develop new techniques to produce functionally graded materials
  • Advances to Asylum Research AFM's that make it simpler to obtain useful information on polymers
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