Additive Manufacturing Research Group

About Additive Manufacturing


Three types of materials can be used in additive manufacturing: polymers, ceramics and metals. All seven individual AM processes, cover the use of these materials, although polymers are most commonly used and some additive techniques lend themselves towards the use of certain materials over others. Materials are often produced in powder form or in wire feedstock.

Other materials used include adhesive papers, paper, chocolate, and polymer/adhesive sheets for LOM. It is essentially feasible to print any material in this layer by layer method, but the final quality will be largely determined by the material. The processes above can also change the microstructure of a material due to high temperatures and pressures, therefore material characteristics may not always be completely similar post manufacture, when compared to other manufacturing processes.



Common plastics can be used in 3D printing, including ABS and PC. The common structural polymers can also be used, as well as a number of waxes and epoxy based resins. Mixing different polymer powders can create a wide range of structural and aesthetic materials. The following polymers can be used:

  • ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene)
  • PLA (polylactide), including soft PLA
  • PC (polycarbonate)
  • Polyamide (Nylon)
  • Nylon 12 (Tensile strength 45 Mpa)
  • Glass filled nylon (12.48 Mpa)
  • Epoxy resin
  • Wax
  • Photopolymer resins




Metals: A range of metals can be used, including a number of options suitable for structural and integral component parts. Common metals used: Steel, TItanium, Aluminium, Cobalt Chrome Alloy (DMLS materials, 2014).

  • Maraging  steel  1.2709 (Tensile Strength 1100 Mpa)
  • Titanium alloy Ti6AI4V (Tensile Strength: 1150 Mpa)
  • 15-5ph  stainless  steel (Tensile Strength: 1150 Mpa)
  • Cobalt  chrome  alloy, Co28Cr6Mo (Tensile Strength 1300 Mpa)
  • Aluminium  alsi10mg  (Tensile Strength 445mpa)
  • Gold and Silver





Ceramic powders can be printed, including:

  • Silica/Glass
  • Porcelain
  • Silicon-Carbide