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Fast 5 times, dual wavelength! Light cured continuous additive manufacturing!

2024-03-18 18:22

Sandia National Laboratory has developed a new 3D printing process that can print stronger non-metallic materials in record time, and is five times faster than traditional 3D printing.
The team developed SWOMP selective dual wavelength olefin metathesis 3D printing technology, as its name suggests, using dual wavelength light. The team drew inspiration from a technology called continuous liquid interface 3D printing and a 3D printing method using dual wavelength light for acrylic acid polymerization.

By using dual wavelengths, on the one hand, we are still printing layer by layer, and on the other hand, we are using second wavelength light to prevent aggregation at the bottom of the barrel. So the printing material will not stick to the bottom, which means it can lift the cured polymer components faster and significantly accelerate the printing process.
This new process not only concerns the efficiency of 3D printing, but also aims to make 3D printing materials more durable and versatile. Currently, most UV curable resin materials are acrylic based and not the strongest.
The team turned to dicyclopentadiene material, which is commonly used in the production of paints, varnish, and plastic flame retardants. Changing the composition of the material from acrylic to alkenyl allows for the printing of harder materials. By developing a method that utilizes light to aggregate this material more quickly, it can be more effectively used in 3D printing.

The team hopes to see these 3D printed components in rockets, engines, batteries, and even fusion applications in the near future. They are already in discussions with researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to explore applications.
According to the paper "Continuous Additive Manufacturing Using Olefin Methodology", the development of chemistry has enabled selective dual wavelength olefin metathesis polymerization for continuous additive manufacturing (AM). The resin formulation based on dicyclopentadiene exhibits effective initiation at one wavelength (e.g. blue light) and rapid catalyst decomposition and polymerization deactivation at a second wavelength (e.g. ultraviolet light).


Research has found that this continuous 3D printing speed is competitive compared to existing 3D printing technologies and much faster than traditional SLA. This technology is expected to have a broad impact on additive manufacturing in terms of material and performance selection, and will stimulate emerging dual wavelength 3D printing processes.