Techniques of extrude and cure additive manufacturing for thermally cured, high viscosity and medical-grade silicone are investigated by using a small ram extruder and a near-infrared (IR) laser. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the process parameter effects on the stiffness of the final products.
Process parameter effects on axial stiffness values and durometer are explored. Parameters such as extrusion layer height, laser speed, laser current, laser raster spacing and multiple laser passes were investigated and compared to traditional cast and cure methods. Dimensional changes were also recorded and compared.
Tensile and durometer tests show that certain curing parameters give tensile stress and durometers within 10 per cent of bulk material specifications at 200 per cent strain. Parameters that had the highest impact on tensile stress at 200 per cent strain were layer height (0.73 per cent) followed by laser power (0.69 per cent), and then laser raster spacing (0.45 per cent). Parameters that had the highest impact on durometer were laser power (1.00 per cent), followed by layer height, (0.34 per cent) and then laser raster speed (0.32 per cent). Three-dimensional printed samples had about 11.2 per cent more shrinkage than the bulk cast samples in the longest dimension.
This paper is one of the first that demonstrates near IR laser curing parameter effects on three-dimensional printed, commercial off-the-shelf, medical-grade and viscous silicone. The ability to cure very viscous thermosets locally enables interesting technologies such as wire encapsulation, high voltage actuators and drug delivery devices.
Porter, D., Davis, N., Krueger, P., Cohen, A. and Son, D. (2020), "Additive manufacturing by material extrusion with medical grade silicone elastomers and IR laser curing", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 145-155. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-10-2018-0279Download as .RIS
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