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Analysis of the porosity of materials made with 3D microprint technology

Rapidly growing space, telecommunications, semiconductor and electronic markets require the use of new production methods, so that more and more miniaturized and high-performance components can fit into ever smaller space. The use of 3D microprinting technology is an interesting area of development in this regard.

Currently, there are several methods of 3D printing with different characteristics. One of the most important parameters of the printed material is porosity [1]. When developing a component intended for high stress environments, the material should be fully compacted to minimize damage during operation. On the other hand, the high surface porosity of the element is actually desirable and purposefully introduced, for example, in oil and gas research [2], as well as in energy storage applications, such as in 3D-printed battery electrodes [3].

for whom?

  • telecommunications market
  • space industry
  • semiconductor market
  • microelectromechanical systems
  • medical industry
  • manufacturers of inks and 3D printers


  • porosity determination
  • providing useful information about the process
  • indicating the direction of changes in technological parameters
  • strengthening high-performance components

In our laboratory, we analyse the surface structure of micropores with imaging using the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of high resolution, which enables the identification and quantification of pores. In addition to standard SEM imaging of the sample surface, we are able to make a cross-section through the structure (Fig. 1) using a Focused Ion Beam (FIB) to analyze the porosity in the material volume. Subsequently, the SEM are subject to processing with, among others,

  • initial contrast enhancement,
  • filtration of large artifacts,
  • smoothing out small structures arising from noise, and finally
  • binarization (fig. 2), from which we obtain the contours and surface of the pores.

By combining SEM/FIB analysis with digital data processing, we are able to determine, among others the number of pores, their size and the area in which they are located in a sample. The analyses performed in our laboratory will help provide useful information about the process and at the same time may indicate the direction of changes in technological parameters.

Fig. 1. SEM image of the analysed structure

Fig. 2. The pore distribution in the material obtained after the SEM image analysis process


[1] Porosity Measurements and Analysis for Metal Additive Manufacturing Process Control, J. A. Slotwinski, E. J. Garboczi, K. M. Hebenstreit, Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Volume 119, 2014
[2]Head, D. and Vanorio, T., 2016. Effects of changes in rock microstructures on permeability: 3-D printing investigation. Geophysical Research Letters, 43(14), pp.7494-7502
[3] Gupta, V., Alam, F., Verma, P., Kannan, A. and Kumar, S., 2021. Additive manufacturing enabled, microarchitected, hierarchically porous polylactic-acid / lithium iron phosphate / carbon nanotube nanocomposite electrodes for high performance Li-Ion batteries. Journal of Power Sources, 494, p.229625

We thank Exaddon for lending their products for use to carry out this analysis!

Microprint 3D

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if elements made in 3D microprint technology play important role in your company.

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waiting for contact:

Natalia Ignatowicz – R&D Advisor 

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During our meeting the team of engineers will advise you on possible improvements with SEM / FIB microscopes.