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A Feasibility Study of Processing Polydimethylsiloxane–Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose Composites by a Low-Cost Fused Deposition Modeling 3D Printer

Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Innovazione, Università del Salento, via Monteroni, Km 1, 73100 Lecce, Italy
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Materials 2018, 11(9), 1578; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11091578
Received: 23 July 2018 / Revised: 26 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Advanced Composites)
Additive manufacturing (AM) techniques allow the construction of complex physical models reproducing the content of a specific CAD file, and, among them, Fused Deposition Molding (FDM) stands out for its many advantages. The aim of the present work is to perform a feasibility study of 3D printing of a model of human heart to be used to simulate surgical operations or for training through a two-step method based on extrusion and FDM processes. To this purpose, typical extrusion instrumentation and a simple and low-cost FDM printer are employed, in combination with a thermoplastic polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), chosen for its transparency, flexibility, and high resistance to multiple agents and aging. To improve its tactile properties and mimic the slimy effect of living organs, sodium carboxymethylcellulose (Na–CMC) fibrils are added to it. The starting materials, the neat PDMS filament and the composite one, are deeply characterized in terms of structural, thermal, and rheological properties in order to fix the most suitable extrusion and FDM parameters. The composite filaments show larger diameter and roughness, which cause undesirable effects during 3D printing, such as episodic nozzle obstruction, and exhibit a faster degradation, making the FDM step difficult. Nevertheless, the major issues are related to the low crystallinity degree of the employed polymer. The feasibility study carried out leads to the printing of composite layers, even though far from the desired final target. Possible solutions to print the fully characterized Na–CMC/PDMS composite are addressed in the conclusion of this work. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3D printing; polydimethylsiloxane; sodium carboxymethylcellulose; rheology; biomedical applications 3D printing; polydimethylsiloxane; sodium carboxymethylcellulose; rheology; biomedical applications
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Calcagnile, P.; Cacciatore, G.; Demitri, C.; Montagna, F.; Esposito Corcione, C. A Feasibility Study of Processing Polydimethylsiloxane–Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose Composites by a Low-Cost Fused Deposition Modeling 3D Printer. Materials 2018, 11, 1578.

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