Abstract

Addition-cured silicones are widely used in emerging soft robotics and wearable device technologies which can benefit greatly from the customizability offered by versatile 3D printing methods such as fused filament deposition (FFD). However, precursors of addition-cured silicones, particularly the ones with high compliance, are generally incompatible with 3D printing due to their rheological properties. Several silicones with rheological properties suitable for 3D printing lacks the compliance necessary for many application. This paper explores FFD of composite silicone inks consisting of two types of addition cured silicone precursors with different rheology and mechanical properties: inherently 3D-printable Dow SE-1700 with low compliance and non-printable Smooth-On EcoFlex 00-10 with high compliance. Specifically, blended ink rheology, morphology and the mechanical properties of the printed structures are experimentally studied. It was shown that 3D printable rheology was maintained in inks that contained up to 33% EcoFlex 00-10, even though the reduction in the elastic moduli and the yield stress were noted. Inclusion of EcoFlex 00-10, led to smoother side walls of the printed structures at an optimal composition. Through varying the relative composition of the two components, 100% tensile moduli of the printed structures can be controlled between 959–347 kPa. Several issues are noted associated with the transient behavior of the blended inks due to short pot life of the EcoFlex 00-10.

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