Dr. Mohammad Reza Movahedi, professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Sharif University of Technology and his Ph.D. student, Keyvan Mohammadi, developed a 3D printer for printing micron-sized pieces.
With this achievement, Iran joins the leading countries in 3D printing technology, USA, UK, Sweden, and Japan. “3D printers in the last two decades have brought about a revolution in the manufacturing industry. The significant impact is caused by the speed and flexibility of this technology in the production of complex shapes. However, printing in micron and nano scales is still a challenge compared to printing a shape of macro dimensions. Due to the limit put on the resolution, conventional 3D printing technologies and processes like selective melting and fused filament fabrication cannot be used to produce micro-dimensional products of high-resolution. Therefore, for some time it has been a challenge for researchers to design a process that can produce micron-sized components using a wide range of materials. Electrohydrodynamics 3D printer is a new technology which can overcome these limitations”, says Keyvan Mohammadi.
He added, “The method is inspired by the physical phenomenon of electrohydrodynamics, where inducing a strong electric field on a large drop changes its form and, under certain conditions, can reduce the drop size by more than ten times and convert it to microsized droplets. The complexity of the multi-physical nature of this process and being influenced by various parameters has made the technology a difficult to achieve.”
He put emphasis on the need to define the research projects properly targeted; “in addition to publishing scientific articles, the research should aim at achieving advanced technology.”, he says.
The technology has been achieved under Keyvan Mohammadi’s PhD thesis, which, in collaboration with Ali Aarafi, Master student at SUT, has been designed to be conducted in 2 phases: 1) technology acquisition and 2) applied research.
Dr. Movahedi, the supervisor of the thesis explained, “the 3D printer research has been around for over 20 years and has been constantly developing ever since. 3D printing, in fact, is recognized as one of the ten major technologies that will revolutionize the future of the world. In our country, especially in the last decade, both industry and academia have put an acceptable priority on 3D printer research and have achieved the point where many relevant equipment and devices are being developed by Iranian academic and industrial teams.”
He added “the main focus on this research project was on electrohydrodynamics printing technology which differs from other technologies in a way that deposition is done in micro and nano scale. The result is the production of precise, and finely-tuned products for a wide range of applications in Nanomedicine, Nanosensor, Automotive, Aerospace and etc. The basis of this work is to control the size and shape of droplets with the help of a high voltage electric field and print the droplet in exact dimensions and fine size. If the fluid droplet contains particles of nanopowders of different materials such as silver and this fluid is an evaporable solvent, what remains is a layer of deposited material in micron and even lower resolution with high precision.”
Dr. Movahedi is a professor of manufacturing at the Mechanical Engineering Department of Sharif University of Technology with research interests on Hybrid Machining Processes; Ultrasonic and Laser Assisted Machining Laser Processing, Additive Manufacturing, Laser Cladding, Mechanics of Machining Processes, Machine Tools Dynamics, FEM Simulation of Metal Cutting/Forming Processes, Experimental Modal Analysis, and Computer Aided Tolerancing (Tolerance Analysis and Synthesis). To get familiar with his research you might visit his personal page at http://sharif.ir/~movahhed/