The technology offered is an additive manufacturing platform to produce components of complex structures with tunable mechanical and optical properties and depending on the composition of the mixture, will impart self-cleaning, anti-icing, anti-bacterial, and anti-biofouling functionalities to the final product.
The platform fabricates printed assemblies from lubricant–polymer mixtures containing silica aerogel particles through direct ink writing. By controlling the rheological behaviour of the ink mixtures through formulation composition, a high degree of controllability during the printing process can be obtained and the heterogeneous structures created will have the desired surface and mechanical properties.
TECHNOLOGY FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS
The technology resolves key issues faced during the 3D printing process such as phase separation and inadequate flow of ink which causes discontinuous dispensing through the printer nozzle, resulting in poor construction of the final assembly.
Assemblies fabricated using this platform will have the following properties:
Complex 3D printed structures with no distortion or swelling
Low-adhesive and lubricated surfaces
Achieve heterogeneous structures with two or more materials of different oil permeabilities
High mechanical strength
Tunable properties such as optical transparency, stretchability and flexibility may be obtained
Surfaces with anti-icing, anti-bacterial, and anti-biofouling functionalities
Potential applications for this technology, but not limited to, are as follows:
Fabrication of miniaturized and macroscale devices with anti-bacterial, anti-icing, and lubricated surfaces
Medical applications such as medical tubing and implantable devices where anti-biofouling and anti-bacterial properties are essential
Automotive and aerospace applications where anti-biofouling and anti-icing properties are critical
Eliminates phase separation and swelling of ink mixtures caused by the incorporation of lubricants
Able to maintain high mechanical strength of the final component
Optimised rheological behaviour of the mixture provides excellent dimensional controllability
Functionalities of the final component may be tailored according to the ink compositions