Determining Optical Transmittance Spectra of 3D Printing Materials

Shannon M. Hamp, Riley D. Logan, and Joseph A. Shaw, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Montana State University, Culbertson Hall, 100, Bozeman, MT 59717

Three-dimensional printing technology is increasingly prevalent in academic and professional settings; however, it is less common in optical systems due to limited knowledge of 3D printing material optical properties. Aside from the discovered degradation that acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a common 3D printer material, experiences when exposed to UV rays for extended periods of time, no published research exists on the light transmittance of various 3D printing materials. To aid the use of 3D printed parts in optical systems, this research aims to answer the question: what are the optical transmission spectra of common 3D printing materials? Common printing plastics come in different colors and can be printed in thicknesses as low as 20 microns. Transmittance through the material changes depending on the selected color and thickness of the printed design. A 3D “stair-step” design to allow for data collection of varying thicknesses of each material, in 1-millimeter increments, has been developed that can be printed with the Ultimaker 2+ and the FormLabs Form 2 printers utilizing common materials including PLA, ABS, and various resins. The prints are then placed in front of an integrating sphere with a spectrometer probe positioned on the opposing side to measure the amount of light that passes through the material at each wavelength from 400 to 2500 nm (visible to short-wave infrared). Various materials can be printed in different colors and thicknesses, so the transmission of light through the material is predicted to rely more on the thickness and color selections, rather than the material: where lighter colors and reduced thicknesses will transmit more light than darker colors and greater thicknesses. The experimental results will be organized in a comparative table to demonstrate the transmittance of each material selection to aid in the use of 3D printing for future optical applications.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Shannon Hamp

Institution: Montana State University Bozeman

Type: Poster

Subject: Electrical & Computer Engineering

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 6
Date/Time: Tue 2:00pm-3:00pm
Session Number: 4529