The build characteristics of two liquid crystal (LC) reactive monomers were studied using a table‐top stereolithography apparatus (TTSLA). LC materials contain stiff, rod‐like mesogenic segments in their molecules, which can be aligned causing an anisotropy in properties. When cured in the aligned state the anisotropic structure is “locked in” resulting in materials with anisotropic physical and mechanical properties. By varying the alignment of layers, properties such as thermal expansion coefficient can be optimized. High heat distortion (or glass transition) temperatures are possible depending on the monomer chemical structure. Working curves for the LC resins were developed under various conditions. A permanent magnet placed outside the TTSLA vat was used to uniformly align the monomer in the nematic state. Photo‐initiator type and content; alignment of the nematic phase; and operating conditions affected the working curve parameters. Glass transition temperatures of post‐cured parts ranged from 75 to 1488C depending on the resin and processing conditions. Mechanical analysis data revealed a factor of two difference between glassy moduli measured in the molecular alignment versus the transverse alignment directions. Based on these initial studies, more advanced resins with higher glass transitions are being developed at the University of Dayton.
Ullett, J.S., Schultz, J.W. and Chartoff, R.P. (2000), "Novel liquid crystal resins for stereolithography – processing parameters and mechanical analysis", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 8-17. https://doi.org/10.1108/13552540010309840
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