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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Macromolecular Chemistry I:

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Hochleitner, G.; Fürsattel, E.; Giesa, R.; Groll, J.; Schmidt, H.-W.; Dalton, P.D.: Melt Electrowriting of Thermoplastic Elastomers, Macromolecular Rapid Communications, 39(10), 1800055 (2018) -- DOI: 10.1002/marc.201800055
Melt electrowriting (MEW), an additive manufacturing process, is established using polycaprolactone as the benchmark material. In this study, a thermoplastic elastomer, namely, poly(urea‐siloxane), is synthesized and characterized to identify how different classes of polymers are compatible with MEW. This polyaddition polymer has reversible hydrogen bonding from the melt upon heating/cooling and highly resolved structures are achieved by MEW. The influence of applied voltage, temperature, and feeding pressure on printing outcomes behavior is optimized. Balancing these parameters, highly uniform and smooth‐surfaced fibers with diameters ranging from 10 to 20 µm result. The quality of the 3D MEW scaffolds is excellent, with very accurate fiber stacking capacity—up to 50 layers with minimal defects and good fiber fusion between the layers. There is also minimal fiber sagging between the crossover points, which is a characteristic of thicker MEW scaffolds previously reported with other polymers. In summary, poly(urea‐siloxane) demonstrates outstanding compatibility with the MEW process and represents a class of polymer—thermoplastic elastomers—that are, until now, untested with this approach.
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