Materials currently available for 3D printing, such as resins, alloys (such as nickel-based chromium, cobalt, aluminum, titanium, etc.), polymers, ceramics, plastics, and the like. With the ACEO? Imagine Series 100, WACKER became the first company to industrially produce elastomers through 3D printing. Before WACKER first introduced this revolutionary technology, silicones were not able to perform 3D printing. Today, 100% silicone has been used for modeling or small batch production, and many downstream silica processing companies have begun to produce, which has benefited many industries. So, what is special about “100% silicone” or “true elastomer” for the 3D printing industry?
In response, we received a reply from Dr. Bernd Pachaly from the ACEK® expert team in WACKER, Germany. With his expertise, he shared his insights on the application of silicone materials to 3D printing technology. The mystery of silicone 3D printing.
What is silicone?
Silicone, a polysilicon name, is a generic term for polymers in which the main chain is alternately composed of silicon oxide atoms. Among such materials, silicone rubber articles are important members, which are made of liquid silicone rubber or solid silicone rubber through various crosslinking reactions.
What type of silicone does ACEO use?
ACEO? uses liquid silicone rubber, which has long been known for being widely used in injection molding. As one of WACKER's brands, ACEO has benefited from WACKER's more than 70 years of silicone expertise to continuously develop such silicones to meet specific application requirements.
The main components of silicone rubber are silicone polymers, crosslinkers, reinforcing fillers and catalysts. These materials react with high viscosity mixtures to form rubber. No organic or copolymer is used and the finished product is a real rubber (100% silicone) rather than a "rubber-like" material. In addition, this cross-linking reaction is a platinum-catalyzed hydrosilylation reaction with no by-products or residues.
What is special about 100% silicone compared to other types of rubber?
What makes synthetic rubber unreachable is that silicones have unique chemical and mechanical properties, such as:
Flexibility and flexibility
Wide application temperature range
Silicone rubber is generally biocompatible and meets food application requirements. Because of its stability, no additives or stabilizers are needed.
What are the advantages of silicone 3D printing compared to silicone injection molding?
Silicone 3D printing reduces the cost of production by converting digital models directly into physical quantities without the use of any tools or molds, especially for modeling or small batch production.
Another advantage of silicone 3D printing is the savings in production time: the process cycle can be significantly reduced; and products can be quickly improved during product development.
Each 3D printing unit can be customized to meet the needs of the dental or dental care industry, making it easy to create anatomical models that simulate human tissue.
ACEO offers custom silicones for specific application requirements
What applications and industries can benefit from 3D printed 100% silicone?
In industrial areas such as transportation or machinery, rapid modeling, small-volume production, and on-demand production of spare parts are all important.
In the medical field, silicone 3D printing can be used to produce personalized custom applications such as dental clips or anatomical models, and ACEO products can also be customized to treat different patients according to different conditions, thus further promoting medical education and preoperative The formulation of the plan.