Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design's Digital Manufacturing and Design Centre have developed UV-curable elastomers that can be stretched by up to 1100%. The 3D-printing process supports the fabrication of soft actuators and robots, flexible electronics, and acoustic metamaterials.

Using high-resolution 3D printing with the SUV elastomer compositions enables the direct creation of complex three-dimensional lattices or hollow structures that exhibit extremely large deformation.

"The new SUV elastomers enable us to directly print complicated geometric structures and devices such as a 3D soft robotic gripper within an hour," said Assistant Professor Qi (Kevin) Ge, who is one of the co-leaders in developing the SUV elastomers.

Compared to traditional molding and casting methods, Ge says the 3D-printing process significantly reduces the fabrication time from many hours, even days, to a few minutes or hours, as time-consuming fabrication steps like mold-building, demolding, and part assembly are replaced.

The researchers fabricated a 3D buckyball light switch that still works after being pressed for more than 1000 times.


Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2017 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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