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Filament Rheometer
Affordable and efficient device capable of measuring melt flow rheological properties of polymers and polymer composites directly from 3D printing filaments (FFFs). 
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Affordable and efficient device capable of measuring melt flow rheological properties of polymers and polymer composites directly from 3D printing filaments (FFFs). The innovation promises to improve ease of use and reduce cost by more than an order of magnitude when compared to commercially available competitors. 


Demand for 3D printing is expected to grow significantly, which will cause a rising tide for all related technologies.  The global desktop 3D printer market is estimated to reach more than $2.35 billion in terms of revenue and around 2.6 million units in terms of sales volume by 2022. Materials represented 19.4% of the 3D printing industry in 2013 and materials are projected to be the fastest-growing sector of the 3D printing industry, reaching a 22.1% share of the market in 2020. The demand is expected to be driven by the rising demand for FFF printers.  The market for rheometers and viscometers was $721.5 million in 2018 and is expected to reach $878.6 million by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 4.0%. Demand for melt flow indexers(MFI)is expected to grow significantly.

Problem Addressed

  1. The high cost of existing instrumentation limits its wide-spread use.

  2. Existing measurement devices requires trained technicians. 

  3. The melt-flow index is limited to qualitative measurements without direct engagement with filament material. 



Rotary rheometers and melt flow indexers are the closest related products to this invention. The spread of 3D printing continues and expands beyond users with highly technical backgrounds and trends show that 3D printing is expected to be significant in the years to come. This technology provides a filament rheometer that is easy to use and is lower in cost than existing alternatives.

  1. Reduces the cost of obtaining polymer flow rate measurements at more than an order of magnitude.

  2. Simplifies use for in-bound QC of filament.

  3. Allows for increased testing frequency during filament manufacturing.

  4. Suitable for environments where predominant users are generally untrained, such as maker-spaces and educational or other common-use facilities.​


  • Filament manufacturing QC

  • End-user filament QC

Stage of Development



The invention has been used to measure these characteristics on six commercially available FF filaments.  

Business Opportunity

  • Businesses can commercialize the technology by licensing U.S.Patent from Baylor

  • License available as a Blueprints No-hassle Limited Exclusive License from Baylor

  • Licensees may have the opportunity to pursue collaborative research with the inventors

  • Testing data may be available to companies evaluating the technology

  • Blueprints guides businesses through licensing and follow-on research; services provided at no cost

Notable Mentions
Rated 7 out of 10 by 3rd party commercialization potential assessor.

Download PDF

Taylor Hobbs

Technology Licensing


Intellectual Property




Dr. Douglas E. Smith

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Baylor

External Links



Blueprints IPForesight™        Advantage

Blueprints Lab uncovers and validates commercialization data on university innovations so investors can quickly see where the business and technical value lies.  Blueprints works with business and industry to translate university research into products that meet the world's needs. Blueprints IP managers and licensing staff are familiar with patenting for market-impact, have worked with researchers, understand the marketplace, and have managed dealflow to meet the individual needs of both university and business clients.

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