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Developing Photopolymerizable Acrylate Resin Formulation for Impact Modified 3D Printed Thermosets
This contribution focuses on engineering photopolymerizable acrylate resin formulations for a superior fracture energy absorption of 3D printed acrylate thermosets. Herein, we report a polydimethyl siloxane-based block copolymer as an impact modifier, compatible with the UV curing process, which undergoes reaction induced phase-separation during the 3D printing process to form a rubbery phase sufficient for enhanced impact properties. A systematic investigation of the effect of concentration of the impact modifier on the morphology of rubbery domains and fracture toughness was conducted. Results show that at an optimum concentration of 15 wt.% and particle size of 57 nm, an order of magnitude improvement in the fracture energy release rate is realized. Fractographic analysis of the impact modified thermosets using optical microscopy indicates the presence of significant plastic deformation in an otherwise brittle material. Notably, the engineered acrylate thermosets, at an optimum concentration, exhibit similar improvements in the impact properties irrespective to the print layer thickness and independent of the crack orientation with respect to the printed interphase. Detailed investigation of the failure mechanisms for impact modified thermosets show that the block copolymer diffuses to the interphase during the 3D printing process, resulting in preferential localization of the impact modifier near the print interphase resulting in an isotropic enhancement of the fracture toughness.
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