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Researchers have developed a 3D printed foam that can expand up to 40 times its volume.

        3D printing is a cool and versatile technology with countless uses. However, until now, it has been limited to one thing – the size of the 3D printer.
        This may change soon. A UC San Diego team has developed a foam that can expand up to 40 times its original size.
        “In modern manufacturing, a generally accepted constraint is that parts made using additive or subtractive manufacturing processes (like lathes, mills, or 3D printers) must be smaller than the machines themselves that produce them. machined, fastened, welded or glued to form larger structures.”
        “We have developed a foamed prepolymer resin for lithographic additive manufacturing that can expand after printing to produce parts up to 40 times the original volume. Several structures producing them.”
        First, the team chose a monomer that would be the building block of the polymer resin: 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate. They then had to find the optimal concentration of photoinitiator as well as a suitable blowing agent to combine with 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate. After many trials, the team settled on a non-traditional blowing agent that is commonly used with polystyrene-based polymers.
        After they finally got the final photopolymer resin, the team 3D printed some simple CAD designs and heated them up to 200°C for ten minutes. The final results showed that the structure expanded by 4000%.
        The researchers believe the technology can now be used in lightweight applications such as airfoils or buoyancy aids, as well as aerospace, energy, construction and biomedical applications. The study was published in ACS Applied Materials & Interface.

Post time: Apr-19-2023