Oct.30, 2013

3D printers can be used to create titanium aircraft parts, complex, nano-scale machines, or human bones. Depending on the material used, how many colors you want, the resolution you require, you need different printers to complete your design, which results in increasing fabrication costs. What if there is a printer that can print anything from aerospace parts to artificial bones?

Dr WANG Xiaolong at the Lanzhou Institute of Chemical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and co-workers in Jun Yang's group at the University of Western Ontario in Canada have developed an initiator integrated 3D printing approach (i3DP) to enable post-printing surface modifications for various applications.

First researchers added a bromine-containing acrylate into a UV curable 3D printing resin. To prepare the initiator contained resin, they simply added BrMA into the resin and mixed them. After degasing for 30 min in dark, customized resin was obtained and ready for 3D printing.

After the 3D printing process, 3D printed structures were "painted" with functional polymer brushes via atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) to achieve antimicrobial property for biomedical applications.

Since the initiator exists in the bulk material and thus in the entire printed structure, if needed, any damaged surface can be easily re-painted with single step of ATRP polymerization process.

Water contact angle of 3D printed flat film using 5 wt% BrMA customized resin before (A) and after poly(PFMA) (B) and poly(PEGMA) (C) grafting via SI-ATRP

To demonstrate the technique, 3-sulfopropyl methacrylate potassium salt (SPMA) was grafted on the surface and the adhesion of bacteria was significantly reduced. In addition, the functionalized surface can also inhibit the growth of bacteria on the surface.

In other tests, researchers fabricated lattices containing the polymer brushes and modified them to be either superhydrophobic or superhydrophilic. One cubic superhydrophobic lattice was shown to repel a water droplet. Another superhydrophobic structure was in the form as of 2.5 cm diameter hollow mesh ball with 1 mm pores. When filled with water, the hydrophobic ball effectively held the fluid without leakage, even when shaken.

A 3D printed cubic lattice repels a water droplet (left) while a hollow sieve ball traps water without leaks (right)

We were stunned when we first found that the printed mesh ball held the water completely,' says Wang. 'There is Chinese proverb that says "pouring water into a sieve gets you nothing," but now we have developed a way to make whatever functional complex structures we want – even a sieve that can hold water.'

Watch the video below:

Taking advantage of 3D printing and surface-initiated ATRP, this approach makes the 3D printing more practical especially where surface properties are critical, such as biomaterials, biomedical supplies, and microfluidics.


Source: rsc.org


Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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Pottertown wrote at 10/31/2013 7:35:30 PM:

No kidding...I have no idea what is happening here.

Jon wrote at 10/31/2013 5:56:05 PM:

Technical stuff, you got to love it!

Dan wrote at 10/31/2013 11:50:00 AM:

Well, yes, it is not very clear how it will help to print with any type of materials?

akka69 wrote at 10/31/2013 10:14:55 AM:

WTF did I just read?

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