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An effective route to the additive manufacturing of a mechanically gradient supramolecular polymer nanocomposite structure

Salimi, S., Graham, A. M., Wu, Y., Song, P., Hart, L. R., Irvine, D. J., Wildman, R. D., Siviour, C. R. and Hayes, W. ORCID: (2024) An effective route to the additive manufacturing of a mechanically gradient supramolecular polymer nanocomposite structure. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 150. 106358. ISSN 1878-0180

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2023.106358


3D Printing techniques are additive methods of fabricating parts directly from computer-aided designs. Whilst the clearest benefit is the realisation of geometrical freedom, multi-material printing allows the introduction of compositional variation and highly tailored product functionality. The paper reports a proof-of-concept additive manufacturing study to deposit a supramolecular polymer and a complementary organic filler to form composites with gradient composition to enable spatial distribution of mechanical properties and functionality by tuning the number of supramolecular interactions. We use a dual-feed extrusion 3D printing process, with feed stocks based on the supramolecular polymer and its organic composite, delivered at ratios predetermined. This allows for production of a graded specimen with varying filler concentration that dictates the mechanical properties. The printed specimen was inspected under dynamic load in a tensile test using digital image correlation to produce full-field deformation maps, which showed clear differences in deformation in regions with varying compositions, corresponding to the designed-in variations. This approach affords a novel method for printing material with graded mechanical properties which are not currently commercially available or easily accessible, however, the method can potentially be directly translated to the generation of biomaterial-based composites featuring gradients of mechanical properties.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:114468


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