Thanks to a new project, baptized with the name of FA ELECTRIC, carried out jointly by the Technological Institute of Plastic, AIMPLAS, and the Technological Institute of Energy, ITE, Work is being done to develop some type of methodology that takes advantage of all the advantages of additive manufacturing when it comes to manufacturing parts equipped with sensors capable of generating electrical signals in a single step.
Basically what is sought is that both the sensors and the parts that must incorporate them are manufactured in a single step instead of having to be integrated in successive iterations carried out later. In addition, the steps necessary to manufacture the sensor itself are also considerably reduced, going from the current six steps to just one.
FA ELECTRIC intends to take advantage of all the advantages of 3D printing when manufacturing parts equipped with sensors capable of generating electrical signals.
To achieve this, a three-step strategy has been proposed:
- Development and use of materials with electrical (conductivity) and mechanical (elasticity) properties.
- Electrical activation of insulating materials to provide them with piezoelectricity based on the same principle used for foamed polymers.
- Integrated manufacturing of the assembly in a single step through additive manufacturing with the design of a modified 3D printer through which it is possible, at the same time, to manufacture with the newly developed materials and to electrically activate the parts of the part that you want to provide of properties to act as sensors. The electrical charge generated by exerting tactile pressure on its surface can be used to produce light, sound or energy.
As a detail, just tell you that currently certain materials have been electrically activated and the response of certain materials when they act as piezoelectric sensors is being analyzed. On the other hand, the behavior of a new series of electrically activated plastic materials is being tested and analyzed.