Aleksandra Fortiera, Max Tsaoa, Nick D. Williardb, Yinjiao Xingc, and Michael G. Pechtc
aUniversity of Dayton Research Institute and The Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH 45433, USA
b1430 Enclave Pkwy Schlumberger, Houston, TX 77077, USA
cMechanical Engineering Department, Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA
This work examines the printing of optical-based materials using aerosol jet printing (AJP), an additive manufacturing process. Deposition of optical-based materials using the AJP process has potential to be applied in the fabrication of embedded fiber optic Bragg grating sensors. Made from silica (SiO2), fiber optic Bragg grating sensors are small, lightweight, and chemically inert, making them suitable for a variety of applications. This study examines the preparation and deposition of a newly developed silica-based printing ink. The results of the printing method, the impact of various printing and processing parameters on the deposition quality and microstructure, light reflectivity, scanning electron microscope (SEM) images, and content analyses of the deposited layers are presented. The results show uniform printed layers and demonstrate the capability of the AJP method as well as the newly developed silica-based ink to print high-quality commercial optical-based materials. The focus of this study is on the process/ optical material property interaction only; the printing of actual functional sensors on components and testing them will be discussed in later studies and is beyond the scope of this paper.
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