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Embedded Ink Writing (EIW) of Polysiloxane Inks

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posted on 07.05.2020, 09:10 by Rahul Karyappa, Terry Ching, Michinao Hashimoto
Polysiloxane is a desirable material for the fabrication of devices in microfluidics, lab-on-a-chip, and microelectromechanical systems, but direct patterning of microstructures using liquid polysiloxane resins would require adequate rheological and chemical properties of the resins. In this work, we developed a simple method to fabricate planar microstructures consisting of polysiloxane using commercially available liquid polysiloxane resins without changing their properties. We used a direct ink writing (DIW) printer to dispense curable liquid polysiloxane (with the viscosity in the range of 1–100 Pa·s) in a liquid immiscible with the resins (such as methanol, ethanol, and isopropanol). The contact angle (θ) of the dispensed polysiloxane on the Petri dish increased from 20° in air to 100° in methanol, ethanol, and isopropanol. The increase in the contact angles allowed maintaining the structures of patterned polysiloxane until curing, and the embedding liquid was readily removed by evaporation. We termed this method as embedded ink writing (EIW). The effects of curing time (τ) and nozzle speed (v) on the width of the printed filament (w) were evaluated. EIW achieved the minimum width of the printed filament of 65 μm. EIW enabled direct writing of polysiloxane resins and should find applications in fabricating microfluidic devices, flexible wearables, and soft actuators.