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Solution-Based 3D Printing of Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity.


PMID 29806243

Abstract

Current additive manufacturing methods have significant limitations in the classes of compatible polymers. Many polymers of significant technological interest cannot currently be 3D printed. Here, a generalizable method for 3D printing of viscous tenary polymer solutions (polymer/solvent/nonsolvent) is applied to both "intrinsically porous" (a polymer of intrinsic microporosity, PIM-1) and "intrinsically nonporous" (cellulose acetate) polymers. Successful ternary ink formulations require balancing of solution thermodynamics (phase separation), mass transfer (solvent evaporation), and rheology. As a demonstration, a microporous polymer (PIM-1) incompatible with current additive manufacturing technologies is 3D printed into a high-efficiency mass transfer contactor exhibiting hierarchical porosity ranging from sub-nanometer to millimeter pores. Short contactors (1.27 cm) can fully purify (<1 ppm) toluene vapor (1000 ppm) in N2 gas for 1.7 h, which is six times longer than PIM-1 in traditional structures, and more than 4000 times the residence time of gas in the contactor. This solution-based additive manufacturing approach greatly extends the range of 3D-printable materials.

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