Projection microstereolithography additive manufacturing (PµSLA-AM) systems utilize free radical photopolymerization to selectively transform liquid resins into accurate and complex, shaped, solid parts upon UV light exposure. The material properties are coupled with geometrical accuracy, implying that optimizing one response will affect the other. Material properties can be enhanced by the post-curing process, while geometry is controlled during manufacturing. This paper uses designed experiments and analytical curing models concurrently to investigate the effects of process parameters on the green material properties (after manufacturing and before applying post curing), and the geometrical accuracy of the manufactured parts. It also presents a novel accumulated energy model that considers the light absorbance of the liquid resin and solid polymer. An essential definition, named the irradiance affected zone (IAZ), is introduced to estimate the accumulated energy for each layer and to assess the feasibility of the geometries. Innovative methodologies are used to minimize the effect of irradiance irregularities on the responses and to characterize the light absorbance of liquid and cured resin. Analogous to the working curve, an empirical model is proposed to define the critical energies required to start developing the different material properties. The results of this study can be used to develop an appropriate curing scheme, to approximate an initial solution and to define constraints for projection microstereolithography geometry optimization algorithms.
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