Lithuanian researchers, in collaboration with 3D Creative Ltd., have developed a universal bio-based resin for optical 3D printing, releasing the details of their study in the recently published “A Bio-Based Resin for a Multi-Scale Optical 3D Printing.” In years past, petroleum-based materials have been extremely popular for use in additive manufacturing, but now researchers around the globe have a more definitive focus on renewable sources.
Optical 3D printing (O3DP), while generally still used with petroleum-derived resins, offers affordability and efficiency in production, along with a decreased amount of material waste. In this study, the researchers attempted to break free of petroleum products—and the limitations of conventional manufacturing—developing a new resin from soybeans that can be used on the nano- and macro-scale, as well as processed without a photoinitiator.
O3DP, accompanied afterward by post-processing in the form of thermal treatment, allows users to create structures and prototypes for objects made of materials like:
- Pure glass
“Additionally, O3DP offers flexible manufacturing of multi-scale (multi-dimensional) hierarchical or arbitrary structures which allows speeding up the printing yet keeping the nano-/micro-functionalities available in macro-dimensional objects suitable for diverse practical applications,” stated the authors.
During O3DP, light travels through materials being used and is absorbed either linearly or non-linearly:
“While the former ensures high throughput and rapid manufacturing of macro-scale objects, the latter allows high spatial resolution fabrication in micro-scale and true 3D structuring.”
A variety of polymerization machines have been created to experiment with the advantages of both micro- and macro-scale 3D printing:
- Table-top devices
- Custom-made prototypes
- Advanced scientific setups
- Industrial setups
The authors explain that while both types of photopolymerization have been well-studied, there is a new focus and demand on O3DP material in relation to functionality—as well as the use of bio-products that are environmentally friendly.
“Usually, the material is proper only for one technological fulfillment because of its properties, for example, optical characteristics, viscosity, impurities, sensitivity to development and post-processing, photopolymerization mechanism, etc.,” explained the authors.
In this study, the scientists were able to show that bio-based, acrylated epoxidized soybean oil (AESO) offered greater benefits than the typical resins being used today in O3DP:
“As rheological (storage modulus, loss modulus, viscosity) and optical (absorption) properties of AESO were easily modified by mixing it with diluents and PIs, we showed propriety of custom made resins for two technological implementations, enabling to produce multi-scale (from hundreds nm to cm) objects from a single material,” said the authors. “In general, AESO has a great potential to be straight-forwardly applied in a multi-scale fabrication, employing O3DP technologies, which is a naturally evolving development direction.”
The study of materials is expansive today, especially with the continued use of polymers, resins, and a range of composites. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.[Source / Images: ‘A Bio-Based Resin for a Multi-Scale Optical 3D Printing’]
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