Purdue University Graduate School

Direct-Write of Melt-Castable Energetic and Mock Materials

Reason: Research critical to national defense.

Direct-Write of Melt-Castable Energetic and Mock materials

posted on 2021-04-30, 19:33 authored by Patrick D BowersPatrick D Bowers

Explosives and rocket fuel are just two prime examples of energetic materials, compounds that contain a combustible fuel and oxidizer within the same substance. Recent advances have enabled the construction of energetic materials through multiple variations of additive manufacturing, principally inkjet, direct-write, fused filament fabrication, electrospray deposition, and stereolithography. Many of the methods used for creating multiple layered objects (three-dimensional) from energetic materials involve the use of highly viscid materials.

The focus of this work was to design a process capable of additively manufacturing three-dimensional objects from melt-castable energetic materials, which are known for their low viscosity. An in-depth printer design and fabrication procedure details the process requirements discovered through previous works, and the adaptations available and used to construct an additive manufacturing device capable of printing both energetic and non-energetic (also referred to as inert) melt-castable materials. Initial characterization of three proposed inert materials confirmed their relative similarity in rheological properties to melt-castable energetic materials and were used to test the printer’s performance.

Preliminary tests show the constructed device is capable of additively manufacturing melt-castable materials reproducibly in individual layers, with some initial successful prints in three-dimensions, up to three layers. An initial characterization of the printer’s deposition characteristics additionally matches literature predictions. With the ability to print three-dimensional objects from melt-castable materials confirmed, future work will focus on the reproducibility of multi-layered objects and the refined formulation of melt-castable energetic materials.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering


  • Chemical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Stephen Beaudoin

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Jeffrey Rhoads

Additional Committee Member 2

Bryan Boudouris

Additional Committee Member 3

Letian Dou

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