Centre for Sustainable Additive Print Manufacture
Our centre focuses on the development of novel processing techniques for materials synthesis, printing and characterisation of functional nanomaterials and devices with applications in areas such as sensing, energy harvesting and environmental monitoring.
Our centre comprises a suite of equipment giving a wide-ranging capability for processing of functional ceramic powders and functional ink formulation and deposition.
The Functional NanoMaterials research group also has access to the comprehensive microscopy facilities in the MicroStructural Studies Unit and the Surface Analysis Laboratory, in addition to faculty facilities for X-ray diffraction.
The emphasis of the Centre’s work is on new materials and manufacturing technologies that could be used to create interactive devices that contain less harmful and sustainable materials with a secure supply.
We focus on the following areas:
Particle size analysis, rheology, zeta potential measurement, and study of morphology, crystal structure, composition:
- Ovens and furnaces - temperature treatment in different atmospheres, up to 1200 °C
- Centrifuges - 12 x 1.5 ml capacity, 10 x 10 ml capacity, up to 1500 rpm
- General capability for wet chemistry and solid-state chemistry
- Ultrasonic bath - dispersion and mixing
- Ball mill - ultra high speed ball mill for mixing and milling
- High intensity ultrasonic processor with temperature controller – for materials which are difficult to disperse, preparation of nano particle inks
- High shear stirrer Silverson L5M – capability over a wide range of ink volumes
Particle size analysis
- Malvern Zetasizer Nano-ZS90 – measurement of zeta potential as well as particle size, for nano/micro particle size ranges
- Malvern Nanosight – for particle size distribution in suspension, for nano/micro particle size ranges
- Malvern Kinexus Lab+ - measurements in three-step shear rate (mirroring the conditions for screen printing), viscosity, yield stress, stress relaxation, creep and recovery
- Brookfield viscometer - general viscosity measurement vs shear rate
Film deposition facilities:
- Screen printer - DEK 245 printer, various mesh sizes and shapes, 0.5 - 30 cm print area
- Spin coater
- Dip coater
- Spray deposition
- MicroFab Technologies Inc Jetlab4 – 3D ink jet printer, printing in three directions with the capability to print four different materials simultaneously, two in situ cameras for print monitoring
- Dimatix – ink jet printer for printing nano inks
- Laser system with SCANLAB SCANcube III 10 scan head - for targeted heat treatment of printed films
The MicroFab Jetlab 4xl inkjet printer gives the capability to print at elevated temperature with control in three axes over a 210 mm x 260 mm printable area using four independent fluid reservoirs.
This allows us to replicate specific manufacturing conditions and address lab-to-industry scale-up issues such as accurately co-printing n-type and p-type thermoelectric materials to intricate patterns. It is also possible to correlate ink drop impact observations made using the printer’s in situ camera with rheological studies on the formulation of thermoelectric inks for inkjet and screen printing of films.
Electrical, thermal and mechanical characterisation of films:
- Jandel four-point probe – for resistivity measurements
- Impedance analysis
- Characterisation - SEM, TEM, confocal microscopy for topography, optical microscopy (MicroStructural Studies Unit)
- Surface analysis - AFM, SIMS (Surface Analysis Laboratory)
- XRD (Chemistry Department)
- Thermal expansion and thermogravimetry (Chemistry Department)
- ICP for characterisation of composition in liquid (Chemistry Department)
- FTIR (Chemistry Department)
- Krüss EasyDrop contact angle measurement – measurements of wettability of surfaces (films and substrates), hygro/hydro scopic/phobic
- Mechanical and indentation properties