Opening up new avenues and creating new materials is vital for widening the applicability of 3D printing for part production. A promising technique is reactive jetting, whereby instead of depositing polymers in the form of a solution, the monomer and a catalyst are deposited separately to induce the polymerisation in situ, usually post-deposition. Early work in this area successfully enabled the production of nylon using a reactive jetting approach. Building on that start, we are working with Dr Steve Christie and Dr Steve Edmondson at Loughborough University, to explore the different routes to produce in situ polymerised parts. These include the functionalisation of the monomer to allow for active ingredients to be attached, codeposition of monomer plus catalyst mixtures during jetting, and the attachment of groups to allow for post-deposition UV curing.
The applications of this technology are multiple with the primary goal being the potential to fill the gap in the materials available for 3D printing of end-use, as opposed to prototype, structures. There is currently a lack of mechanically suitable engineering materials and a requirement for dielectric materials to complement the work on the laying of conductive pathways.
Project Team (Researchers)
Dr Belen Begines, Dr Fan Zhang, Mr Yinfeng He
Former researcher: Dr Hongyi Yang
Co - Investigators
Prof Ricky Wildman, Prof Phill Dickens, Prof Ian Ashcroft, Dr Chris Tuck, Dr Ruth Goodridge