Effect of Polymer Binder on the Synthesis and Properties of 3D-Printable Particle-Based Liquid Materials and Resulting Structures

Recent advances have demonstrated the ability to 3D-print, via extrusion, solvent-based liquid materials (previously named 3D-Paints) which solidify nearly instantaneously upon deposition and contain a majority by volume of solid particulate material. In prior work, the dissolved polymer binder which enables this process is a high molecular weight biocompatible elastomer, poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA). We demonstrate in this study an expansion of this solvent-based 3D-Paint system to two additional, less-expensive, and less-specialized polymers, polystyrene (PS) and polyethylene oxide (PEO). The polymer binder used within the 3D-Paint was shown to significantly affect the as-printed and thermal postprocessing behavior of printed structures. This development enables users to select one of several polymers to impart the most desirable properties for a given application. Additionally, 3D-Paints based on these new binders are not adversely affected by classes of particles that can chemically degrade PLGA, notably particles containing large quantities of alkali ions. This study demonstrates the ability to successfully use PS and PEO as binders in the 3D-Paint system and compares the rheological, mechanical, microstructural, and thermal properties of the modified 3D-Paints and resulting as-printed and thermally post-processed objects. These objects include, for the first time, structures resulting from 3D-Painting which mostly contain soda-lime glass and 45S5 bioactive glass.