Advanced toughening concepts for 3D-printable photopolymers
Additive manufacturing technologies (AMT) have gained a lot of interest as potential method for future tool-less manufacturing. The key challenge is to finally print parts whose geometrical as well as mechanical and functional properties are at least as good as those of conventionally (e.g. by polymer injection moulding) manufactured parts. The current dilemma of AMT is the fact that none of the currently available technologies can provide high geometrical quality (surface roughness, precision) and high mechanical qualities (strength, toughness, heat deflection temperature) at the same time. Lithography-based AMT (e.g. stereolithography) have the capability to achieve excellent feature resolution, surface quality and precision, but suffer severely from the fact that the available photopolymers exhibit low toughness and/or low heat deflection temperature.
The goal of this project is to provide a new class of thermoplast-like photopolymers which allow to 3D-print parts with high resolution and precision, and at the same time significantly improved thermomechanical properties, especially an improved fracture toughness. The hypothesis, which will facilitate these improvements compared to the state of the art, assumes that a strongly covalently dominated polymer network will always be brittle, since chemical bonds can only be broken irreversibly. Using a fracture mechanical approach, new monomer formulations will be developed and screened regarding their suitability for lithography-based AM.
The project is funded by the FWF (project P27059).
Contact: Prof. Jürgen Stampfl (firstname.lastname@example.org)