Research from the Viterbi School of Engineering in the University Of Southern California developed 3D printed rubber material. Qiming Wang, assistant professor at the university is working in the world of 3D printers and studying the printed materials. His team including help professor Ying Li and students Kunhao Yu, Haixu Du, and An Xin manufactured a material. This new material is able to repair itself in case of fracture or puncture.
This material will be game-changing for industries such as tires, shoes, robotics and the electronics industry. This material will lower the manufacturing time along with product durability. Additionally, the disulfide group in the material makes it able to self-healing material.
This material can find applications across composite materials, vehicle parts, and manufacture of body armor.
Process of Manufacturing the Material:
With the combine process of 3D printing and photopolymerization process, they manufactured the material. For this, they used light for solidification of liquid resin and making it into the desired shape.
For conducting the photopolymerization process, the thiol chemical group helped. The addition of oxidizer during this process converted thiol group to disulfide. The right ratio of these disulfide groups can unlock these properties.
Photopolymerization can complete the printing of 17.5 mm square in 5 seconds and an entire object in 20 minutes.
The NPG Asia Materials published the study and demonstration of material including the shoe pad and soft rubber. After the success of 3D printable soft material, the researchers are working on the development of self-healable stiff materials.