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As keen readers of the HANNOVER MESSE portal will no doubt have noticed - 3D printers are becoming more and more important. After all, they offer a speedy means of manufacturing products. A team of researchers from the University of Kaiserslautern (TUK) looked into the conditions needed to achieve the best possible results when printing plastics. The composition of the material also plays a role here, and so, when producing their fiber-reinforced plastic, they used fibers that are completely integrated into the plastic like a string. The researchers believe this method could, for example, be useful for lightweight construction in the automotive industry.

"Our goal is to be able to manufacture plastic products using 3D printing in such a way that produces ideal results for the intended use," says Miaozi Huang, PhD student at the Institute for Composite Engineering, who is being supervised by Professor Alois Schlarb in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering. When producing their fiber-reinforced plastics, the TUK team uses "continuous fibers", which are integrated into the plastic as a whole - similar to a string. In other processes, these fibers are not added in one piece, but are instead mixed in as individual microparticles. The plastics produced with continuous fibers have a clear advantage, as the PhD student explains: "The continuous fibers make the finished product much more stable and rigid."