Fused filament fabrication of polyamide 6 nanographene composite for electrostatic discharge applications


Polyamide 6 nanographene composite is a composite material that combines polyamide 6 (PA6) with nanographene particles. PA6 is a commonly used engineering plastic known for its impressive mechanical properties, while nanographene particles consist of graphene flakes at the nanoscale. In this composite, the nanographene particles are uniformly dispersed throughout the PA6 matrix, resulting in enhanced properties across multiple dimensions compared to pure PA6. These enhancements include improved mechanical strength, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, and barrier properties against gas and water vapor permeation.

The polyamide 6 nanographene composite applications are diverse and span various industries. In the automotive sector, the composite can be used to produce engine covers, fuel rails, and air intake manifolds, benefitting from its enhanced mechanical properties. The composite’s improved barrier properties in the food packaging industry make it an ideal choice for creating packaging materials that offer better protection against gas and water vapor permeation. Moreover, the composite finds utility in producing electronic components like connectors and switches, capitalizing on its excellent electrical conductivity and mechanical strength. Additionally, the composite’s biocompatibility and strength open up possibilities for its use in medical implants and devices.

Using polymers in composite materials brings numerous advantages, including cost-effectiveness, lightweight nature, flexibility in manufacturing, and adjustability. Particularly in Fused Filament Fabrication 3D printing, engineering thermoplastics have gained popularity due to their ability to maintain malleability even at high temperatures. However, the limited availability of thermoplastic materials has led to the developing of specialized composite filaments. Nanomaterials such as carbon additives, including graphene, carbon nanotubes, and carbon blacks, have been introduced to polymers to create high-performance functional composites. These nanomaterials have unique mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties that make them suitable for various applications. Researchers have focused on reinforcing thermoplastic matrices with nanofillers to enhance their mechanical and electrical properties, thereby increasing the multifunctionality of the resulting nanocomposites. In addition, polyamides, such as polyamide 6, hold great potential for creating fully multifunctional nanocomposites, making them highly versatile for demanding applications.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Materials Science & Engineering B, researchers from Texas State University, led by Professor Jitendra Tate, developed a multifunctional polymer nanocomposite for electrostatic discharge applications using polyamide 6 and graphene nanoplatelets. The researchers leveraged the malleability of polyamide 6 at high temperatures, making it suitable for Fused Filament Fabrication. Due to their high aspect ratio, they incorporated graphene nanoplatelets as filler material, enabling an electrically conducting network within the nanocomposite. The resulting material composite demonstrated great potential for manufacturing static discharge products, which are critical in handling electronic components. These products prevent damage to electronic components, ensure worker safety, and maintain manufacturing efficiency.

To create the nanocomposite, the researchers used a co-rotating twin-screw extruder to blend different weight percentages of graphene nanoplatelets with polyamide 6, resulting in monofilaments suitable for Fused Filament Fabrication. They conducted extensive mechanical, thermal, and electrical property evaluations using various testing methods. Scanning electron microscopy was employed to investigate the morphology of the dispersed graphene nanoplatelets in the polyamide 6 matrix. Mechanical properties, including tensile and flexural properties, were assessed following ASTM standards. Thermal stability was analyzed using thermogravimetry and differential scanning calorimetry, while electrical testing involved measuring volume resistivity.

The study revealed that adding graphene nanoplatelets to polyamide 6 significantly improved the mechanical properties of the nanocomposites. With increasing graphene nanoplatelets content, the tensile and flexural properties exhibited incremental enhancements, with a substantial increase in tensile and flexural modulus at a 6 wt% addition. In addition, the nanocomposites demonstrated excellent thermal stability and increased crystallinity at this loading level. Additionally, incorporating 2 wt% graphene nanoplatelets reduced volume resistivity, indicating the potential for fabricating static discharge products.

In conclusion, polyamide 6 nanographene composite is a highly versatile material with remarkable mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties. Its wide range of applications across industries and its enhanced characteristics compared to pure polyamide 6 make it an appealing choice for various manufacturing needs. In addition, the development of multifunctional polymer nanocomposites, such as the one utilizing polyamide 6 and graphene nanoplatelets, opens up new possibilities for creating advanced materials with superior performance in specific applications.

About the author

Dr. Jitendra S. Tate, professor of manufacturing engineering at Texas State University, has established safe handling practices for industrial (such as nano clay) and engineered (such as carbon nanotubes) nanoparticles in his research and teaching, dealing with advanced polymer nanocomposites. His research areas include developing, manufacturing, and characterizing the high-performance polymeric thermoplastics and thermoset nanocomposites for Thermal Protection Systems (TPS), rocket ablatives, fire-retardant interior structures of mass transit and aircraft, lighter and damage-tolerant wind turbine blades, fiber-reinforced high-temperature composites, replacement of traditional composites using bio-based materials, sustainable composites from renewable resources, cellulose nanofibers, conductive/magnetic/high-temperature polymers for 3D printing, nanotechnology education, and nanotechnology safety. He has provided consultation to many private companies and has numerous funding from federal and private entities. He is well known for his expertise in advanced composite materials and nanotechnology safety. Dr. Tate is a recipient of a prestigious national teaching award, The Educator of the Year 2020 and 2009, by the ‘Society of Plastics Engineers’ Composites Division. Dr. Tate is a member of AIAA- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, ASME- American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ACMA- American Composites Manufacturers Association, SPE- Society of Plastics Engineers, and SAMPE- Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering. He served as Technical Chair of the CAMX 2020 International Conference and Technical co-Chair of the SAMPE 2021 International Conference. Dr. Tate has 122 peer-reviewed articles published, of which 38 were journal articles, 84 full-length peer-reviewed conference papers, and four book chapters. He has edited one book titled, ‘Nano-Safety: What we need to Know to protect workers’ published by De Gruyter, Germany. In addition, he has presented his research at 50-plus conferences.


Dr. Jitendra S. Tate
Professor of Manufacturing Engineering
Ingram School of Engineering
Texas State University
601 University Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666 USA
Office Phone: 512-245-1826 (Department); Fax: 512-245-7771
Email: [email protected]

About the author

Mr. Oluwasola Arigbabowo received his BS in Materials Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, and MS in Manufacturing Engineering from Texas State University. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Materials Science, Engineering, and Commercialization at Texas State University. Oluwasola’s research focuses on the manufacturing and characterization of polymer nanocomposite filaments with multifunctional properties for 3D printed parts used in electrical and magnetic applications. He is working on his Ph.D. dissertation on developing high-performance bonded magnets for the Magnetic Field Assisted Additive Manufacturing (MFAAM) process.


email:[email protected]


Oluwasola K. Arigbabowo, Liam Omer, Jitendra Tate. Fused filament fabrication of polyamide 6 nanographene composite for electrostatic discharge applications. Materials Science & Engineering B, Volume 287, 2023, 116086.

Go To Materials Science & Engineering B

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