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.