Centre for Additive Manufacturing
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Additive manufacturing processes have seen burgeoning capabilities in the past decade including:

  • increases in speed
  • material qualification
  • design systems
  • application development

Such processes have enabled an unprecedented freedom of design in conjunction with a wide range of materials.



CfAM has a variety of AM equipment and characterisation tools which cover features in the nano, micro and macro scale and applications from consumer 3D Printing to high end metallic and experimental inkjet systems.


3D Printed Formulations by Additive Manufacturing

Title: 3D Printed Formulations by Additive Manufacturing

Funder: Industry (GSK)

Total value: £652,196

Start to end date: Nov 2014-Sept 2018


The 3D printed formulation project is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline. The aim of the project is to study the feasibility of manufacturing drug releasing solid dosage forms (tablets) using inkjet, SLA, and extrusion printing. These additive manufacturing platforms offer geometric flexibility and additional control over dosage design, which may allow for the production of personalized medicine.

Our research has focused on UV curable and solvent evaporation type inkjet formulations for highly water soluble Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs). We have also investigated the drug release behaviour from extrusion printed paste formulations. Future work will involve the formulation of poorly water soluble APIs inks for inkjet and SLA printing processes, as well as on implantable drug delivery devices.

In this figure we demonstrate the drug release behaviour of Ropinirole HCl, a low dose, highly water soluble API from a UV cured tablet matrix. The inkjet printed tablets contain a commercially relevant dose (0.41 mg) of Ropinirole HCl.  Release (89%) of the API is observed over four hours.

Project team: Prof Ricky D. Wildman, Prof  Morgan R. Alexander, Prof Derek J. Irvine, Prof Clive J. Roberts, Elizabeth A. Clark, Shaban Khaled, Hatim Cader.

Industrial partners: Martin M. Wallace (GSK), Sonja Sharpe(GSK), Jae Yoo(GSK).

Formulation for 3D printing: Creating a plug and play platform for a disruptive UK industry

Title: Formulation for 3D printing: Creating a plug and play platform for a disruptive UK industry

Funder: EPSRC (EP/N024818/1)

Total value: £ 3,531,769 (£2,503,910 at UoN)

Start to end date: Oct 2016-Sept 2020


The £3.5M four-year programme aims to remove the barriers to the uptake of 3D printing through the adoption of high throughput formulation, establishing sector specific material libraries and creating a ‘plug and play’ approach to materials selection, thereby securing UK at the forefront of the 3D printing revolution. Our aim is to decouple printer/process and material selection; we will develop a methodology that will establish a route to rapid identification of materials, and importantly, combinations of 3D printable materials, and show useful properties for a range of industry sectors, including pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, food, chemicals, and consumer home & care products. This project will aim to meet four research challenges: (1) development of a system for rapidly formulating and characterising 3D printing inks; (2) establishment of formulations required to deliver multiple actives in one system; (3) identification of edible materials suitable for printing and for control of textural and breakdown properties; and (4) production of a diverse library of polymers plus complementary low molecular weight organic gelators to permit a combinatorial approach to realise new highly effective and innovative jetting inks.

Project team at the University of Nottingham:

  • Prof Ricky Wildman
  • Prof Morgan Alexander
  • Prof David Amabilino
  • Prof Clive Roberts
  • Prof Christopher Tuck
  • Prof Simon Avery
  • Dr Derek Irvine
  • Prof Richard Hague
  • Prof Tim Foster
  • Dr Yinfeng He
  • Laura Ruiz
  • Dr Zuoxin Zhou

Academic Partners:

  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Reading
  • University of Birmingham

Industrial partners:

  • Syngenta
  • GSK
  • Unilever
  • PPG
  • Malvern

View our Formulation for 3D Printing page

Area Sintering for Multifunctional Additive Manufacturing

Title: Area Sintering for Multifunctional Additive Manufacturing

Main project: EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing

Funder: EPSRC (EP/I033335/2)

Total value: £5,576,219 (main project)

Start to end date: Oct 2012- Jan 2013

Project team:

  • Prof Richard Hague
  • Prof Chris Tuck
  • Dr Ruth Goodridge
  • Dr Helen Thomas
  • Mr Mark East
Jetting of Conductive and Dielectric Elements Additive Systems

Title: Jetting of Conductive and Dielectric Elements Additive Systems

Main project: EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing

Funder: EPSRC (EP/I033335/2)

Total value: £5,576,219 (main project)

Start to end date: Oct 2012- March 2017


Multifunctionality is foreseen as the future of AM, however the move to multifunctionality is littered with technical challenges, from the accurate and reliable deposition of different materials together and their interaction, to the design of these components and how best to integrate different materials for a given function. Current AM technologies such as laser sintering or fused deposition modelling, whilst having some advantages, have some clear drawbacks for the production of multi-material parts. These are namely, in their accuracy, resolution and the processing environment required during manufacture. In the first phase of this project a strategic review of the available manufacturing routes open to multi-functional AM has been carried out, with significant promise being shown by drop-on-demand inkjet techniques for processing conductive, dielectric and other materials.

On this basis, new experimental material deposition test beds have been procured and adapted along with the necessary characterisation equipment to ensure material applicability to the jetting processes. In total, seven jetting systems have been commissioned, three printers based on the FujiFilm Dimatix DMP2831, three based on the PixDro LP50 architecture and a 6-head bespoke jetting system, commercially known as JetX 3D, also based on the PixDro architecture. All these systems are capable of depositing particulate based inks (such as those filled with silver nanoparticles) and a host of other materials with various viscosities and surface tensions. In particular, the PixDro systems have five different configurations to enable contemporaneous multi-material printing, particulate printing and elevated temperature printing of hot melt polymers.

The project is now concentrated on multi-material printing in 3D (especially in vertical direction), as well as the integration of printing onto existing additively manufactured substrates, such as those produced by ultrasonic consolidation, or materials developed in the sister projects, Reactive Jetting of Engineering Materials. Various inks were specially formulated to enable printing conductive routes in the Z direction as well as real-time UV and heat curing sources to establish printing functional multi-material structures in a single process.

The project has achieved a breakthrough in sintering conductive silver nanoparticle based inks where traditionally this process takes many minutes to transform these inks into conductive tracks whereas the sintering time achieved in this project was only few seconds. Other exciting achievements were also made during the past two years, particularly on graphene based applications including all-printed graphene supercapacitors and graphene based transistors, which were fabricated using a novel graphene oxide rapid reduction method that was developed by the project team. Printed meta-materials and flexible sensors were highly successful during the past year. RF metamaterials working in the 10 GHz range were successfully printed using various conductive and non-conductive materials. A wide variety of sensors were demonstrated such strain sensors, temperature sensors, touch sensors and humidity sensors.

A number of collaborations took place as a result of recent findings the project has achieved. An ongoing collaboration with the quantum hub group at Nottingham University is investigating printing conductive tracks to be used under ultra-high vacuum for cold atom trapping applications. Metamaterial devices were produced in collaboration with national physical laboratory (NPL) and further more collaboration with NPL is in progress. Unique design antennas were thought to be largely challenging to fabricate, expect that JET has shown a route to fabricate such complex devices in collaboration with the Terahertz Group at Queen Mary University.

JET has produced a number of high quality journal and conference publications reporting results on the quality of the conductive tracks produced using different sintering methods. Highly thermal resistive polymers were also reported and successfully used as a structural material for 3D electronic circuits. Multi-material devices were also reported particularly on metamaterial structures for RF applications. A full list of publication is available elsewhere in the annual report.

Project team:

  • Prof Chris Tuck
  • Prof Ricky Wildman
  • Prof Ian Ashcroft
  • Prof Phill Dickens
  • Prof Richard Hague
  • Dr Ehab Saleh
  • Dr Jayasheelan Vaithilingam
Nano-functionalised Optical Sensors (NANOS) Jetting of Conductive and Dielectric Elements to Enable Multifunctional Additive Systems

Title: Nano-functionalised Optical Sensors (NANOS) Jetting of Conductive and Dielectric Elements to Enable Multifunctional Additive Systems

Main project: EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing

Funder: EPSRC (EP/I033335/2)

Total value: £5,576,219 (main project)

Start to end date: Oct 2012- March 2017


The requirements for future Additive Manufacturing systems to produce complex multi-material and multifunctional components are reliant on two aspects: increased material capability and increased resolution. NANOS specifically targets these aspects through the research and development of nano-resolution manufacturing systems, principally multi-photon lithography, that are capable of producing 3D structures of the order of 100 nm in materials that have relevance to sensing applications and beyond. In addition, NANOS utilises developments in optical tweezer technology to functionalise the structures made using multi-photon lithography. NANOS is enabling the deposition of nanoscale structures in new materials that promote the development of novel sensory systems.


  • A multi-photon lithography system has been developed with extended capabilities – to process composites, including polymers and metals, in a controllable way; and to combine with optical tweezer technology to functionalize the structure made by multi-photon lithography.
  • Since the project’s inception, additional funding has been awarded from EPSRC and the United States Air Force’s European Office of Aerospace Research & Development to extend the system’s capabilities.
  • Nine PhD students are working on spin-off projects that involve collaborations with Nottingham’s Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Sciences and Physics Department, demonstrating the wide relevance of the technology across the engineering and science fields.
  • A technique to fabricate complex 3D Au-containing nano-composites by simultaneous two-photon polymerisation and photoreduction in a single step has been developed. Feature size as small as 78 nm has been demonstrated. The in-situ generated Au nanoparticles have surface plasmonic effect. This technique opens a door for various application studies, such as plasmonics, metamaterials, flexible electronics and biosensors.
  • Suitable photoinitiators suitable for two-photon lithography have been identified and synthesized in lab.

Project team:

  • Dr Qin Hu
  • Prof Chris Tuck
  • Prof Ricky Wildman
Automation of 3D Cell Model Assembly by Additive Printing

Title: Automation of 3D Cell Model Assembly by Additive Printing

Funder: Innovate UK

Total value: £107,459

Start to end date: Sept 2014-Dec 2015


Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine are key healthcare challenges for manufacturing. The CfAM involvement in this field has been to examine the feasibility of 3D printing complex tissue structures. Potential applications for this research include the manufacture of cell based biosensors, in-vitro models of complex organs, implanted cell-factory devices, or external assist devices for organs.

In collaboration with the Centre of Biomolecular Sciences (CBS) and the School of Pharmacy research areas ranging from bioprinting to pharmaprinting were explored, taking basic science to application.

Project team:

  • Dr Yinfeng He
  • Mrs Hagit Gilon
  • Prof Chris Tuck
  • Prof Ricky Wildman

Centre for Additive Manufacturing

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44(0)115 84 66374
email: CfAM@nottingham.ac.uk