AFRL, Universities Partner on 3D-Printed Composites

Image of 3D Printer Using Epoxy.
Direct ink printing is performed with a 3D printer using epoxy with chopped fiber. The pressure pump provides pressure to force the resin through the nozzle.

Joining forces with various universities, the Air Force Research Lab has demonstrated additively manufactured epoxy/carbon fiber composites used in many structural parts on aircraft and spacecraft. The materials have higher thermal and environmental durability and are extremely strong and lightweight.

The composite printing process creates lightweight sandwich structures used on aircraft skins would enable structures that can withstand heavier forces where needed and remain lighter where they are not needed.