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- Liquid crystal polymers as a 3D printing feedstock;
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Liquid crystal polymers with motile surfaces - Soft Matter (RSC Publishing)
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Liquid crystal polymers (LCP)
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Liquid Crystal Polymers
Phenylene ethynylene azobenzenes with symmetrical peripheral chromophores: Synthesis, optical properties and photoisomerization behaviors study. Dyes and Pigments , 92 1 , Schofield, J. Rewritable and switching chiroptical supramolecular nanolayers. A new means of 3D printing using liquid crystal polymers LCP compatible with desktop fused deposition modelling FDM 3D printers and able to create strong and complex objects could represent the next FDM step change.
Researchers Develop Way to 3D Print with Liquid-Crystal Polymers
While 3D printing has found a space in industry for several decades already, it has yet to achieve a ubiquity found through commercial success. Some ascribe this to the calibre of available 3D printers, the low strength of polymers and adhesive strength of print lines, or the technical hardship of creating complex geometries with strong mechanical properties. Adding glass or carbon fibre to reinforce feedstock is commonplace, but this can make the material brittle. Fibre-reinforced polymers are also difficult to recycle. The team took inspiration from the structure of natural materials, specifically the molecular alignment of silk proteins along the fibre directions in spider silk, and the way living tissue such as wood arranges fibres along stress lines throughout loaded structures, as in a wood knot.
The team used Vectra A as the LCP, comprising p-hydroxybenzoic acid and 2-hydroxynaphthoic acid, chosen for its strong mechanic properties after fibre spinning. The anisotropic fibre properties were utilised by tailoring the local orientation of the print path according to the specific loading conditions imposed by the environment. Therefore, we are very confident that our findings will be reproducible with a broad range of LCPs.