J. Mater. Sci. Technol. ›› 2021, Vol. 60: 27-34.DOI: 10.1016/j.jmst.2020.04.038

• Research Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Additive manufacturing of CNTs/PLA composites and the correlation between microstructure and functional properties

Xing Zhoua,c,d, Jingrui Denga, Changqing Fanga,*(), Wanqing Leia, Yonghua Songa, Zisen Zhanga, Zhigang Huangb,*(), Yan Lid   

  1. a Faculty of Printing, Packaging Engineering and Digital Media Technology, Xi’an University of Technology, Xi’an, 710048, China
    b School of Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering, Beijing Technology and Business University, Beijing, 100048, China
    c School of Materials Science and Engineering, Xi’an University of Technology, Xi’an, 710048, China
    d School of Mechanical and Precision Instrument Engineering, Xi’an University of Technology, Xi’an, 710048, China
  • Received:2019-11-05 Revised:2020-02-28 Accepted:2020-04-07 Published:2021-01-10 Online:2021-01-22
  • Contact: Changqing Fang,Zhigang Huang


Owing to the facile, low cost, rapid, personalization characters, 3D printing method has been one of the most attractive additive manufacturing processes in medicine, airplane, packaging and printing areas. In this work, a series of carbon nanotubes/polylactic acid (CNTs/PLA) composites were prepared through the combination of molten co-extrusion and 3D printing processes. The orientation and dispersion of CNTs in PLA matrix were investigated to explore the impact of 3D printing process on the morphology of CNTs/PLA composites via transmission electron microscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. X-ray diffractometer, differential scanning calorimetry, and thermal gravity analysis were employed to study the crystal structure and thermal properties of the composites. In addition, the electrical conductivity of the prepared specimen revealed that the orientation of CNTs in PLA might enhance the conductivity of the composite. It was found that 3D printing process was beneficial to increasing the purity of CNTs, electrical conductivity and mechanical properties of CNTs/PLA composites.

Key words: Carbon nanotubes, Microstructure, Polymer nanocomposites, Thermal stability