Intrinsic Field-Induced Nanoparticle Assembly in Three-Dimensional (3D) Printing Polymeric Composites

Dharneedar Ravichandran, Weiheng Xu, Sayli Jambhulkar, Yuxiang Zhu, Mounika Kakarla, Mohammed Bawareth, Kenan Song

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Nanoparticles (NPs) are materials considered to be 1-100 nm in size and are available in different dimensional shapes, geometrical sizes, physical morphologies, mechanical robustness, and chemical compositions. Irrespective of the dimensions (i.e., zero-dimensional (0D), one-dimensional (1D), and two-dimensional (2D)), NPs have a tendency to become entangled together, forming aggregations due to high attraction, making it hard to realize their full potential from their ordered counterparts. Many challenges exist to attain high-quality stabilized dispersion and long-range ordered assembly of NPs. Three-dimensional printing (3DP), also known as additive manufacturing (AM), is a technique dependent on layer-by-layer material addition for building 3D structures and encompasses a few categories based on the feedstock material types and printing mechanisms. One benefit from the 3DP procedures is their capability to produce anisotropic microstructural/nanostructural characteristics for desired mechanical reinforcement, transport phenomena, energy management, and biomedical implants. This paper briefly overviews relevant 3DP methods with an embedded nature to assemble nanoparticles without interference with external fields (e.g., magnetic or electrical). Our focus is the shear-field-induced nanoparticle alignment, covering material jetting-, electrohydrodynamic-, filament melting-, and ink writing-based 3DP. A concise summary of photopolymerization and its "optical tweezer"effects on nanoparticle confinement also inspires creative approaches in generating ordered nanostructures. The nanoparticles and polymers involved in this review are diverse, consisting of metallic, ceramic, and carbon nanoparticles in matrices or on surfaces of varying macromolecules. A short statement of challenges (e.g., low resolution, slow printing speed, limited material options) for 3DP-enabled nanoparticle orders provides some perspectives toward the enormous potential of 3DP in directing NPs assembly and fabricating high-performance polymer/nanoparticle composites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52274-52294
Number of pages21
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 10 2021


  • 3D printing
  • alignment
  • composites
  • mechanics
  • nanoparticles
  • polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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