Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have unveiled a new method to produce elastomers with high performance using the Vat photopolymerization 3D printing process. Currently used UV-curable resins have so far achieved insufficient mechanical properties, according to the scientists.
By specifically adapting the resin formulation with long-chain oligomers, the researchers say they were able to significantly improve performance. Samples from the optimized resin showed a high tensile strength of 25.9 MPa and an elongation of over 1600 percent in the test.
This was made possible by using a 3D printer with linear scan technology, which can also process very viscous resins. This allowed the proportion of long-chain components in the resin mixture to be increased, which boosted performance.
The researchers see the process as a breakthrough for the production of elastomers using 3D printing. The method makes it possible to additively manufacture customized elastomers with properties on par with injection-molded parts. The study “3d Printing of High Viscosity UV-curable Resin for Highly Stretchable And Resilient Elastomer” (DOI: 10.1002/adma.202304430) was published in the journal Advanced Materials.