Dual-Wavelength SLA 3D Printing: Fast Continuous Printing With ROMP And FRP Resins

As widespread as 3D printing with stereolithography (SLA) is in the consumer market, these additive manufacturing (AM) machines are limited to a single UV light source and the polymerization of free-radical polymerization (FRP) resins. The effect is that the object is printed in layers, with each layer adhering not only to the previous layer, but also the transparent (FEP or similar) film at the bottom of the resin vat. The resulting peeling of the layer from the film both necessitates a pause in the printing process, but also puts significant stress on the part being printed. Over the years a few solutions have been developed, with Sandia National Laboratories’ SWOMP technology (PR version) being among the latest.

Unlike the more common FRP-based SLA resins, SWOMP (Selective Dual-Wavelength Olefin Metathesis 3D-Printing) uses ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP), which itself has been commercialized since the 1970s, but was not previously used with photopolymerization in this fashion. For the monomer dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) was chosen, with HeatMet (HM) as the photo-active olefin metathesis catalyst. This enables the UV-sensitivity, with an added photobase generator (PBG) which can be used to selectively deactivate polymerization.

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