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Reprocessable thermosets for sustainable three-dimensional printing

KevinGE's picture

Nature Communications, Article number: 9, 1831 (2018)

Abstract: Among all three-dimensional (3D) printing materials, thermosetting photopolymers claim almost half of the market, and have been widely used in various fields owing to their superior mechanical stability at high temperatures, excellent chemical resistance as well as good compatibility with high-resolution 3D printing technologies. However, once these thermosetting photopolymers form 3D parts through photopolymerization, the covalent networks are permanent and cannot be reprocessed, i.e., reshaped, repaired, or recycled. Here, we report a two-step polymerization strategy to develop 3D printing reprocessable thermosets (3DPRTs) that allow users to reform a printed 3D structure into a new arbitrary shape, repair a broken part by simply 3D printing new material on the damaged site, and recycle unwanted printed parts so the material can be reused for other applications. These 3DPRTs provide a practical solution to address environmental challenges associated with the rapid increase in consumption of 3D printing materials.



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