Development of bio-based 3D-printing resin

From the work field, there is an increasing need for sustainable building blocks to develop biobased resin. In the field of material and resin development, additive manufacturing (AM) / 33D-pinting offers the possibility of producing a versatile range of customized materials and resins. An important class of materials used in AM are thermoset photopolymer resins. Although thermosetting photopolymer resins are sustainable because of no environmental pollution, volatile organic solvents are required in the resin formulations, the thermosetting photopolymer resin formulations available on the market are not yet sustainable enough.

The raw resin materials are mostly still of fossil origin and once cured, the 3D-printing objects are not recyclable or reprocessable into other objects. In this project, NHL Stenden, Maastricht University and Liqcreate will work on developing bio-based photopolymer resins based on building blocks derived from lignin, fatty acid and camphor. In addition, the building blocks will contain reversible bonds that allow otherwise non-recyclable cured products to be processed as a thermoplastic at elevated temperatures, opening the way to recycling.

Based on these building blocks, photopolymer resin formulations will be made and cured, after which the mechanical properties will be mapped. The best photopolymer resin formulations will be used for 3D-printing objects, the recyclability of which will be studied. The R&D team at Liqcreate is working closely together with the labs and researchers of the University of Maastricht and NHL Stenden to develop a prototype resin formulation for 3D-printing. Next to our current product offering, new bio-based and recycleble photopolymer resins are developed for commercial use. In the next phase of the project the best biobased resin technology and raw materials are scaled and properties of the resins are tested.

Bio-based and recyclable resins

Often mixed-up, bio-based and recyclable resins are two different classes of materials. Biobased means that the raw materials are sourced from a non-fossil origin. In almost all cases, a part of the raw material chemicals are sourced from plants. Often a percentage of biobased content is given. Recycling means that the material can be used again. With cross-linked resins it is often difficult to up-cycle or recycle. To give the polymer resin a second life and not use as energy in a power plant or use it in a low-end application.

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Partners in the development of biobased and recyclable resin

Biobased resins bio-based resin by Liqcreate for DLP SLA MSLA LCD 3D-printing