Silicone 3D Printed In-house at ALT!
Silicone or poly-siloxane materials are rubber-like elastomers that operate over a wide range of temperatures (-65 to 315C). This class of materials have low thermal conductivity, low toxicity, high gas permeability and high resistivity. These favorable material properties make the material highly desired for use in a number of different applications such as synthetic tissues, sensors, microfluidics, seals/gaskets, cooking utensils, caulking and adhesives. Siloxane materials can be cured either through humidity in the air, UV crosslinking, or heat or platinum catalysts. The majority of silicone users deposit using molds because silicone, a thermoset polymer, is more challenging to deposit using additive manufacturing techniques than conventional thermoplastics and 3D printing filaments, which melt as they are extruded and quickly cool into hard object moments after their deposition.
Our team at ALT has recently demonstrated simultaneous multi-material deposition of a number of different types of silicones and composites with varying viscosity, color and shore hardness. The figure below shows an example f a cross section of a human leg 3D printed in-house at ALT in synthetic skin, bone, muscle, adipose and fascia, with empty spaces to represent blood vessels.