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Additive Manufacturing of Dissolvable Mandrels

Publication Type
ORNL Report
Publication Date

ORNL collaborated with Mitsubishi Chemical America to investigate different grades of vinyl alcohol co-polymers as a potential feedstock material for large-scale material extrusion additive manufacturing (AM). Dissolvable polymers and can find potential applications in AM tooling for complex, hollow, and trapped composite structures without the need for specialized molds and tools. This CRADA Phase I work involved analysis of three different developmental grades of vinyl alcohol co-polymers for thermal and rheological properties, followed by print trials on the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) system using these materials. Finally, printed part properties, including mechanical and thermal performance, as well as dissolvability were evaluated. The properties and performance evaluated in this phase of the project have provided guidelines to further develop these vinyl alcohol co-polymers to enable large-scale printing at high deposition rates and obtain parts that satisfy high temperature molds and dies requirements.