Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

First Adviser

Yaling Liu


The stereolithograpy method, which consists of a light source to polymerize the liquid photocurable resin, can produce structures with complex shapes. Most of the produced structures are unreinforced neat pieces. The addition of reinforcement, such as fibers and particles are regularly utilized to improve mechanical properties and electrical conductivity of the printed parts. Added fibers might be chosen as short or continuous fibers and the properties of the reinforced composite materials can be significantly improved by aligning the fibers in preferred directions. The first aim of this dissertation is to enhance the tensile and flexural strengths of the 3d printed composites by using shear induced alignment of short fibers. The second aim is to print parts with conductive embedded microstructures by utilizing acoustic patterning of conductive particles. Both aims are utilized during the stereolithography process. A lateral oscillation mechanism, which is inspired by large amplitude oscillatory shear test, was designed to generate shear flow. The alignment method, which combines the lateral oscillation mechanism with 3d printed wall patterns, is developed to utilized shear flow to align the fibers in the patterned wall direction. Shear rate amplitude, fiber concentration, and patterned wall angle were considered as parameters during this study. The stereolithography device incorporated with oscillation mechanism was utilized to produce short fiber reinforced ceramic composites and short nanofiber reinforced polymer composites. Nickel coated short carbon fibers, alumina and silica short fibers were used to reinforce the ceramic matrix with different fiber contents. The printed walls were demonstrated to align the short fibers parallel to the wall which was different from the oscillation direction up to 45°. The flexural strength of the ceramic matrix was improved with the addition and alignment of the short fibers. The alumina nanofibers were used as reinforcement in the photocurable polymer resin. The alumina nanofibers were treated with a silane coupling agent to improve interfacial bond between alumina fibers and polymer resin matrix. The aligned specimen demonstrated improvement in tensile strength with increasing nanowire content and their alignment. A hexagon shaped acoustic tweezer was incorporated into the stereolithography device to pattern conductive micro- and nanoparticles. This new approach for particle microstructuring via acoustic aligning during the stereolithography was used to produce embedded conductive microstructures in 3d printed parts. The acoustic tweezer was used to pattern the conductive particles into horizontal, 60°, and 120° parallel striped lines. The influence of the particle percentage content onto the electrical resistivity and thickness of the patterned lines were also investigated for different materials such as copper, magnetite, and carbon fiber. The copper patterns show less resistance to electrical currents compare to magnetite and carbon nanofiber patterns. Additionally, the influence of the particle concentration to the height of the pattern was studied and the data was utilized to achieve conductivity along z-axis. Later, this approach was used to fabricate examples of embedded conductive complex 3D microstructures.