"We expect the outcome of this collaboration will open up huge potential for innovation in many sectors from consumer electronics to defence and space."

Dr. Shiuy Zhang, Loughborough University

loughborough-uni-logo

CUSTOMER
Loughborough University,
The Wireless Communications Research Group

LOCATION
Loughborough and London, UK

TOPIC OF COLLABORATION 
3D printed antennas for wireless communications

www.lboro.ac.uk

Exploring the potential of 3D printing antennas & RF components for microwave, mmWave and beyond

 

Being UK’s first technological university, Loughborough University has a long history of engineering research and teaching. Dr. Shiyu Zhang at The Wireless Communications Research Group is focusing his research on additive manufacturing (3D printing) antennas & RF circuit components, and metamaterials. Using emerging additive manufacturing technique has the potential of delivering a palette of novel, multi-functional 3D RF materials to support a single “design to build” process. This will not only improve existing applications but inspire new ways of designing and manufacturing electronics.

Premix and Dr. Zhang have collaborated during many years related to many different 3D printing projects. One of the recent research projects is an mmWave reflectarray made with PREPERM® ABS450 3D filament (ɛr = 4.5, tan δ = 0.004):

Fruitful collaboration is a result of a solid partnership

Dr. Zhang recognized Premix as the industry leading company in functional plastic materials for antenna and high-frequency designs.

- I’m glad we have built a solid partnership and produced excellent preliminary results over the last three years. Premix has supplied me the specialised RF graded polymer materials and offered the technical support for material synthesis. We are working closely to explore the potential of 3D printing antennas & RF components for microwave, mmWave and beyond.

We expect the outcome of this collaboration will open up huge potential for innovation in many sectors from consumer electronics to defence and space.

Speeding up the manufacturing process

- This research addresses the challenges of manufacturing high performance RF materials and antennas with specific characteristics. Additive manufacturing has the potential to transform manufacturing processes and to significantly shorten the time it takes for innovative new technologies to reach consumers whilst reducing labour cost and waste, Dr. Zhang says.

The reduced cost and rapid prototyping capability of this research will inspire early stage high-tech businesses to experiment and develop new products with reduced risk.

Providing creative, entrepreneurial companies with the technology pipeline they need to realise their ambitions will create jobs and inspire innovations which ultimately can improve the quality of our lives.

Click to read more about the results of one our collaborations - 3D printing a 10-GHz lens antenna prototype using PREPERM®.

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