Date of Award

Summer 8-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Molecular Science and Nanotechnology

First Advisor

Chester Wilson


Additive Manufacturing (AM) has been changing the manufacturing landscape for the last 20 years. As the interest and demand for both polymer and metal-based 3D printing has grown, the materials and machines used have increased in capabilities. Despite the growth and advancement, there are still a large number of improvements that can be made to add functionality to 3D printers. Metal AM, a subcategory of 3D printing, has garnered much attention among industrial applications with large companies such as General Electric trying to implement the technology to increase innovative designs for motors. Some of the limitations on AM have to do with the availability of metal powder that can be used to produce parts. Powders must meet very specific characteristics to be applicable. The physical characteristics alone are not enough either, as chemical properties can determine whether a metal powder is suitable.

Electrochemical means for producing metal powders specifically for AM is largely unexplored. In this work, through plasma-based electrochemistry, a number of metal powders and the physics behind how they are created are explored. The methodology used is one previously utilized for water treatment and removal of metals. A few distinct changes are made to create micro-powders and not nano-powders.

Additive manufacturing thermopolymer composites have made leaps and bounds in the last few years. Once again, however, there are still many unexplored avenues that are applicable to 3D printing. Smart polymers are of great interest to the scientific community. A material that is able to receive an input and yield a desired output such as shape change, or electrical signal is considered “smart”. To this end, a widely available thermopolymer in the form of polystyrene is chosen as the polymer matrix for custom filament experimentation. The combination of polystyrene with semiconductors and graphene is explored as a photo-responsive sensor. Finally, polystyrene is doped with inorganic powders in the first known attempt to make scintillation materials 3D printable.