9 April 2013 GEM printer: 3D gel printer for free shaping of functional gel engineering materials
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Abstract
In the past decade, several high-strength gels have been developed. These gels are expected to use as a kind of new engineering materials in the fields of industry and medical as substitutes to polyester fibers, which are materials of artificial blood vessels. The gels have both low surface friction and well permeability due to a large amount of water absorbed in the gels, which are superiority of the gels compering to the polyester fibers. It is, however, difficult for gels to be forked structure or cavity structure by using cutting or mold. Consequently, it is necessary to develop the additive manufacturing device to synthesize and mode freely gels at the same time. Here we try to develop an optical 3D gel printer that enables gels to be shaped precisely and freely. For the free forming of high-strength gels, the 1st gels are ground to particles and mixed with 2nd pregel solution, and the mixed solution is gelled by the irradiation of UV laser beam through an optical fiber. The use of the optical fiber makes one-point UV irradiation possible. Since the optical fiber is controlled by 3D-CAD, the precise and free molding in XYZ directions is easily realized. We successfully synthesized tough gels using the gel printer.
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Hidemitsu Furukawa, Hisato Muroi, Kouki Yamamoto, Ryo Serizawa, Jin Gong, "GEM printer: 3D gel printer for free shaping of functional gel engineering materials", Proc. SPIE 8687, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2013, 86872W (9 April 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2009327; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2009327
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