Polycaprolactone (PCL) is a resorbable semicrystalline polymer that degrades slowly via hydrolysis and has applications in medical implants and drug delivery. As a result of its low melting point, PCL can be processed easily by conventional polymer processing techniques. However, the additive manufacturing of PCL remains a challenge, mainly due to the fact that there are no commercially available filaments for traditional fused deposition modeling (FDM). Furthermore, when the materials are fabricated via FDM for drug delivery applications, the high temperature may deactivate the incorporated drugs/biomolecules. This study investigates the solution extrusion additive manufacturing of PCL using a lab-developed solution-type device. The device comprises a solution extrusion feeder, driving stepper motors, a power source, a syringe equipped with a dispensing tip, an accumulation platform, and a control interface. The influences of different manufacturing parameters on part quality were evaluated. The experimental results suggest that the tensile strength of the additively manufactured parts increases with fill density but decreases with the ratio of PCL to dichloromethane (DCM) and moving speed of the dispensing tip. Parts fabricated by 90° print orientation of infill exhibited the greatest mechanical strength. The fabricated parts tend to heal the gaps among strips after additive manufacturing, but tiny pores can still be seen on the surfaces.
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