Binder jet 3D printing—Process parameters, materials, properties, modeling, and challenges ☆

14 Oct.,2022


Binder jet 3D printing—Process parameters, materials, properties, modeling, and challenges

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Open access


As a non-beam-based additive manufacturing (AM) method, binder jet 3D printing (BJ3DP) is a process in which a liquid binder is jetted on layers of powdered materials, selectively joined, and then followed by densification process. Among AM technologies, binder jetting holds distinctive promise because of the possibility of rapid production of complex structures to achieve isotropic properties in the 3D printed samples. By taking advantage of traditional powder metallurgy, BJ3DP machines can produce prototypes in which material properties and surface finish are similar to those attained with traditional powder metallurgy. Various powdered materials have been 3D printed, but a typical challenge during BJ3DP is developing printing and post-processing methods that maximize part performance. Therefore, a detailed review of the physical processes during 3D printing and the fundamental science of densification after sintering and post–heat treatment steps are provided to understand the microstructural evolution and properties of binder jetted parts. Furthermore, to determine the effects of the binder jetting process on metallurgical properties, the role of powder characteristics (e.g., morphology, mean size, distribution), printing process parameters (e.g., layer thickness, print orientation, binder saturation, print speed, drying time), sintering (e.g., temperature, holding time), and post-processing are discussed. With the development of AM technologies and the need for post-processing in 3D printed parts, understanding the microstructural evolution during densification is necessary and here, processing steps are explained. Finally, opportunities for future advancement are addressed.


Additive manufacturing

Indirect 3D printing



Powder bed

Powder characteristics


Print processing parameters


Materials selection




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Dr. Amir Mostafaei is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, since January 2020, with a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA, a post-doc research fellow at the Manufacturing Futures Initiatives (MFI) Center at Carnegie Mellon University between September 2018 and December 2019 and an M.Sc. degree in Corrosion and Materials Protection (Sahand University of Technology, Iran). His Ph.D. research was primary on binder jet 3D printing of structural, bio-compatible, metal matrix composites and magnetic shape memory alloys. Effects of print processing optimization during binder jetting as well as post-processing development including sintering and surface treatment of the 3D printed parts were investigated on the microstructural evolution, phase formation, and resulting properties of binder jetted parts.   Additionally, he has been working on laser powder bed fusion of metallic materials and evaluation of the processing parameters on the microstructure, porosity distribution, mechanical properties, and corrosion behavior of various additive manufactured parts from titanium, aluminum, stainless steel, and nickel-based alloys. Dr. Mostafaei has published literature in high temperature corrosion and failure analysis of stainless steels and nickel-based superalloys used in petroleum and nuclear power plants, multi-functional organic coatings, welding metallurgy, and nanomaterials fabrication. Finally,   Dr. Mostafaei’s research mainly focuses on applying fundamental   aspects of materials science and engineering to address the demands of various manufacturing industries via additive manufacturing.

Dr. Amy Elliott got her BS from Tennessee Technological University and her Ph.D. is from Virginia Polytechnic and State University, both Mechanical Engineering. She served as the PI for Binder Jet Additive Manufacturing at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) since 2014, leading over $4M in research in printed metal powder densification, modeling, and printing along with binder development. As part of her role at the MDF, Dr. Elliott meets with people in industry around the world to consult on the proper application of binder jetting technology in manufacturing. Dr. Elliott’s current areas of focus include materials development for binder jetting of heat exchangers in harsh environments, binder development for metal powders, computational modeling of sintering distortion, and development of new metal matrix and ceramic matrix composites for use in mining and fossil extraction, heat exchange, armor, and neutron collimation.

Dr. John Barnes is the Founder of The Barnes Group Advisors and was Vice President of Advanced Manufacturing & Strategy at Arconic, where he worked with Airbus to qualify the first titanium additively manufactured parts for series production on the A350. Prior to Arconic, he was Director of the High-Performance Metals Program for the CSIRO, the national science agency for Australia where he oversaw the R&D and commercialization activities and investments in the program’s two principal areas: metal production and additive manufacturing. His aerospace background includes lengthy positions at Honeywell Engines, where he supported gas turbine advanced technology and was program manager of Marine Engines programs and as senior manager for Manufacturing Exploration and Development at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. At Lockheed Martin, he was responsible for developments in advanced polymers, composites, carbon nanotubes, novel titanium production and processing, additive manufacturing of both polymer and metallic systems, and low observable manufacturing methods. John has 12 patents issued or pending and has given numerous invited presentations is published internationally. In 2014, he was awarded Purdue University’s Outstanding Materials Engineer of the Year and was given an Adjunct professorship at RMIT. In 2017, the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University appointed him an Adjunct Professor of Materials Engineering. John holds a BS in materials science and engineering and an MS in metallurgical engineering from Purdue University.

Fangzhou Li is a PhD student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah. He currently works in the Laboratory of Laser-based Manufacturing and focuses his research on the computational fluid dynamics and fluid-structure interaction in various additive manufacturing process, including binder jetting, laser powder bed fusion, and directed energy deposition. Prior to this, he worked in the Shanghai Key Laboratory of Digital Manufacture for Thin-Walled Structures from 2016 to 2018, where he investigated the process-microstructure-property relationship in the novel metallic bump-assisted resistance spot welding and the magnetic assisted resistance spot welding technologies. He received his BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Dr. Wenda Tan is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah. He is also the director of the Laboratory of Laser-based Manufacturing. His major expertise lies in the areas of computational heat transfer, computational fluid mechanics, and computational materials. He takes advantage of such expertise to investigate the fundamental science regarding the process-microstructure-property relationship in various manufacturing processes, such as additive manufacturing, welding and joining, and casting. He received his BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Tsinghua University, China, and his PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. He also received the prestigious CAREER award of National Science Foundation in 2018.

Dr. Corson L. Cramer went to Michigan Technological University for my BS in mechanical engineering and Colorado State University for M.Sc. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. He is a post-doctoral research associate in the Binder Jet Additive Manufacturing Team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility since 2017, where he has led projects on ceramics, ceramic composites, and metal-ceramic composites. He has published literature in powder processing, thin-film processing, ceramics, semiconductors, and thermoelectrics. He has several patent disclosures filed since working at ORNL. Dr. Cramer’s current areas of research include ceramic and composite materials development for binder jetting, development of new metal-matrix and ceramic-matrix composites, processing of ceramics, and novel processing and printing of ceramic materials. He is a member of SME and ACERS.

Dr. Peeyush Nandwana got his Bachelor of Technology at Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, India (Metallurgical and Materials Science and Engineering), M.Sc. and Ph.D. at the University of North Texas (Materials Science and Engineering). He is a research staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility since 2014. He has worked on various additive manufacturing technologies such as powder bed electron beam melting, laser powder bed fusion, laser wire deposition, and binder jet additive manufacturing of various materials such as titanium alloys, nickel-based superalloys, and steels. Dr. Nandwana leads the effort on densification of tool steels and other monolithic alloys deposited via binder jet additive manufacturing with a focus on materials characterization and mechanical behavior. Furthermore, Dr. Nandwana leads the effort on developing hot isostatic pressing cycles for additive manufacturing materials to improve mechanical properties such as fatigue strength for these materials. Dr. Nandwana’s research focuses on applying materials science fundamentals to address the demands of various manufacturing industries via additive manufacturing.

Dr. Markus Chmielus is an associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department since September 2013, with a PhD in materials science and engineering from the Technical University of Berlin and the Helmholtz Center for Materials and Energy, Germany, a post-doc at Cornell University (2010 to 2013) and MS degrees in aerospace engineering (University of Stuttgart, Germany) and materials science and engineering (Boise State University). Dr. Chmielus’s Advanced Manufacturing and Magnetic Materials Laboratory performs research on functional and structural metals on the influence of production and processing parameters on the properties and microstructure. The lab focuses on additive manufacturing of metals and especially binder jet printing and the influence of post-processing on microstructural evolution and properties. The second   research area is fundamental research, manufacturing, and applications of functional, magnetic materials such as Ni-Mn-Ga magnetic shape-memory alloys and magnetocaloric materials, especially the aspect of using additive manufacturing as a new avenue to produce these materials. A main interest is the understanding of microstructural evolution during printing and post-processing and how different additive manufacturing methods and processing affect the functional properties of functional magnetic materials. The overarching umbrella of all research activities is quantitative characterization of microstructure, defects, mechanical, electrical, magnetic, and thermal properties on different length scales using local, national, and international facilities, including synchrotron and neutron diffraction and collaborations.