Brightlands Materials Center
Multimaterial Additive Manufacturing with Photopolymers
In spite of all the well-known benefits additive manufacturing (AM) has to offer over traditional subtractive manufacturing, is still not used to its full potential. This, to a greater or lesser extent, applies to all additive manufacturing methods, but certainly also to vat photopolymerization. Which, with a few important exceptions, predominantly in the dental and medical world, is still mainly applied in prototyping and for gadgets. For AM, and vat photopolymerization in particular, to make the transition from gadgets to functional products we defined two major opportunities. The first one is to combine different materials in one product in one print job, without the need for post-printing assembly steps. The second one is to create new functionality in a product by combining different materials, e.g. hard and soft, hydrophobic and hydrophilic, (thermally) conductive and insulative, etc. which of course requires the availability of photopolymer resin with a broad range of functionalities.
Multimaterial printing with photopolymers is a relatively new topic, which so far has been achieved by changing vats during stereolithography (SLA) or by the utilization of two or more jetting heads. Here we present our hybrid approach in which we combine traditional vat polymerization with inkjet printing or direct deposition of photocurable materials. This process unites the typical advantages of photopolymer printing like high accuracy, high resolution and excellent surface finish, with unique embedded functionality in the printed part.
Earlier research performed within Brightlands Material Center lead to the development of a photopolymer resin for the production of mono-colored, dental crowns and bridges. One of the first applications demonstrating the added value of our multimaterial technology aims at improving the esthetics of such dental crowns by adding an embedded, natural color shading. Many other potential applications are imaginable!
Margot Segers has received her master’s degree in chemistry at the Radboud University Nijmegen in 2008, where she graduated in the field of organic synthesis. In 2010 she joined the materials research department of TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research, as a scientist mainly focusing on the synthesis of functional materials and coatings with an expertise in colloid chemistry. Since 2017 she joined the additive manufacturing team at Brightlands Materials Center where she is involved in the development of new and improved photopolymer resins for vat photopolymerization.
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