Rapid Open-Air Digital Light 3D Printing of Thermoplastic Polymer.

Advanced materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) (2019-08-14)
Shihong Deng, Jingjun Wu, Michael D Dickey, Qian Zhao, Tao Xie

3D printing has witnessed a new era in which highly complexed customized products become reality. Realizing its ultimate potential requires simultaneous attainment of both printing speed and product versatility. Among various printing techniques, digital light processing (DLP) stands out in its high speed but is limited to intractable light curable thermosets. Thermoplastic polymers, despite their reprocessibility that allows more options for further manipulation, are restricted to intrinsically slow printing methods such as fused deposition modeling. Extending DLP to thermoplastics is highly desirable, but is challenging due to the need to reach rapid liquid-solid separation during the printing process. Here, a successful attempt at DLP printing of thermoplastic polymers is reported, realized by controlling two competing kinetic processes (polymerization and polymer dissolution) simultaneously occurring during printing. With a selected monomer, 4-acryloylmorpholine (ACMO), printing of thermoplastic 3D scaffolds is demonstrated, which can be further converted into various materials/devices utilizing its unique water-soluble characteristic. The ultralow viscosity of ACMO, along with surface oxygen inhibition, allows rapid liquid flow toward high-speed open-air printing. The process simplicity, enabling mechanism, and material versatility broaden the scope of 3D printing in constructing functional 3D devices including reconfigurable antenna, shape-shifting structures, and microfluidics.

Product Number
Product Description

Lauryl acrylate, technical grade, 90%
Isobornyl acrylate, technical grade, contains 200 ppm monomethyl ether hydroquinone as inhibitor