A development of new material for 4D printing and the material properties comparison between the conventional and stereolithography polymerised NVCL hydrogels
Geever, Luke M.
Tie, Billy Shu Hieng
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The term 4D printing refers to the idea that the shape or properties of a printed object can be changed when an external stimulus is applied. In this contribution, a temperature-responsive polymer Poly (N-vinyl caprolactam) (PNVCL), which is normally prepared via radical free polymerization, was used to justify the 4D printing concept. As a result, by using a Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer, 4D prints were successfully prepared. These prints were able to demonstrate intelligent and reversible expansion/shrinkage behaviour as the temperature increases and decreases. Additionally, in order to examine the differences in chemical structure, thermal properties, mechanical properties, and swelling behaviours of the photopolymerised and printed parts, a series of characterisation tests, including Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), goniometry, tensile test, gel fraction measurement and pulsatile swelling study were performed on this study. In conclusion, the differences between polymerisation methods are significant; despite their chemical structures and thermal properties being similar, there were significant differences with regard to tensile properties, swellability and wettability of samples. The implications of conducting this study are remarkable, not only in providing a new way of preparing NVCL, but also in demonstrating the possibility of using 4D printed NVCL for practical applications.
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