The brittleness of acrylic photopolymers, frequently used in 3D Inkjet printing, limits their utilization in structural applications. In this study, a process was developed for the production and characterization of an alumina-enhanced nanocomposite with improved mechanical properties for Inkjet printing. Ceramic nanoparticles with an average primary particle size (APPS) of 16 nm and 31 nm, which was assessed via high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (HRSEM), were functionalized with 3.43 and 5.59 mg/m² 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate (MPS), respectively, while being ground in a ball mill. The suspensions of the modified fillers in a newly formulated acrylic mixture showed viscosities of 14 and 7 mPa∙s at the printing temperature of 60 °C. Ink-jetting tests were conducted successfully without clogging the printing nozzles. Tensile tests of casted specimens showed an improvement of the tensile strength and elongation at break in composites filled with 31 nm by 10.7% and 74.9%, respectively, relative to the unfilled polymer.
Keywords: 3D Inkjet printing; ceramic inks; nanocomposites; nanoparticles.