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Zhejiang University develops advanced 3D printable elastomers

The resin chemistry yields an elastomer with a tensile strength of 94.6 MPa

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According to Xinhua, researchers from Zhejiang University have developed 3D printable elastomers with exceptional strength and toughness. The study has been published in the journal Nature.

The mechanical performance of typical printed polymers still largely falls far behind what is achievable with conventional processing techniques. “To make 3D printing technology adaptable to more scenarios, it is necessary to alter the material properties,” said Fang Zizheng, a researcher from the university.

The researchers developed a 3D photo-printable resin chemistry that yields an elastomer with a tensile strength of 94.6 MPa and toughness of 310.4 MJ m-3. The researchers printed a rubber band using this new material and conducted endurance tests. The experiments showed that the rubber band could be stretched up to nine times its original length and withstand a tensile strength of 94 MPa without breaking. The researchers also used the material to create objects like balloons with excellent puncture resistance.

According to Wu Jingjun, a professor at the university, the research marks a breakthrough in overcoming material limitations in 3D printing technology – bringing new hope for its large-scale application in the manufacturing of high-performance products.

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