Transient creep testing was used to differentiate the printability of block copolymer (BCP) containing epoxy inks for direct ink writing (DIW). Poly(ethylene oxide-b-propylene oxide-b-ethylene oxide) (P123) BCPs were shown to form disordered micelles at 20 wt% in a 3D-printable epoxy ink. Oscillatory amplitude sweeps identified no obvious difference in the rheological properties of the inks; however, the P123 inks required less pressure to print quality parts. By contrast, transient creep testing identified significant differences and showed that the P123 ink had a lower apparent yield stress and a lower time-dependent decrease in the shear rate. Additionally, both inks showed re-entrant solid behavior. This behavior manifests in printing as a material that initially flows well, but the material flow eventually stops. The transient creep results correlate well with the printing results. We propose that studying the time-dependent flow properties using transient creep testing is critical for the evaluation of DIW inks.
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The authors would like to thank Dr. Sungsik Lee at Argonne National Laboratory for his help and support with the SAXS experiments. This research used resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. The Anton Paar Academic VIP program is gratefully acknowledged for the use of the MCR 702 rheometer.
This work is supported through a YIP award funded by the AFOSR Low Density Materials program under grant number FA9550-17-1-0128.
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Ekbote, R.P., Donley, G.J., Liu, D.Y. et al. Re-entrant solid behavior of 3D-printable epoxy inks. Rheol Acta 59, 631–638 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00397-020-01227-3
- Block copolymer