Jun 13, 2018 | By Thomas

Netherlands-based Brightlands Materials Center is teaming up with partners DSM, Xilloc Medical, Eindhoven University of Technology, Maastricht University and NWO on a four-year project to explore new polymeric materials for additive manufacturing (AM) and 4D printing. These new materials are aimed to bring improved and novel properties based on recently developed concepts of dynamic and reversible chemistry.

A new class of dynamic polymers such as vitrimers offer highly unusual properties. The most well-known are self-healing properties, which enable the materials to repair themselves after damage takes place. Using dynamic materials in 3D printing could potentially lead to new AM applications.

The project will cover three key research areas:

1. Selective laser sintering. Selective laser sintering is an additive manufacturing technology in which individual powder particles merge by melting them with a laser. An inefficient merging process leads to poor mechanical properties of the 3D printed part. The project aims to improve the merging process with innovative materials that reversibly reduce their viscosity and thus flow more easily together and enable better bond formation.

2. 4D printing. The 4D printing is a promising emerging technology that is based on dynamic materials that respond to stimuli to change properties such as shape. The project will combine additive manufacturing techniques such as 3D inkjet printing and stereolithography with responsive liquid crystalline polymer networks which react to a variety of external stimuli in a reversible manner. New approaches are proposed to explore nature‐like hierarchal structures.

3. Biofabrication. In the field of Biofabrication, Additive manufacturing is used to print tissue. Currently, there are limitations because there is a lack of well‐defined and customizable synthetic systems that allow for precise control over material properties and the bioactivation of the material. The reversible and mechanically instructive materials developed in this project enable the exploration of the ability to influence stem‐cell behavior and elevate biofabrication for tissue engineering.

This research has received funding from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in the framework of the Fund New Chemical Innovations and from the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the framework of the TKI allowance.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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