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3D-printing of PARTiculate FORMulations utilizing polymer microparticle-based voxels

Project description

Programmable particle units in 3D-printed microrobotics for biomedical applications

Additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing, was originally developed in the 1980s for rapid prototyping of large parts. It has evolved tremendously since then, and is increasingly exploited to produce responsive and multifunctional polymeric parts for applications from biomedicine to microrobotics. To achieve a step-change in possibilities, novel materials and processes are required. The EU-funded 3DPartForm project is developing microparticulate formulations enabling embedded functionality at the unit level. Much like a voxel, or volume pixel, defines a unit of volume of a 3D graphical object, scientists intend to create material 'voxels' with adaptive properties programmable in time and space that can assemble into novel hierarchical responsive structures. The result will be coupled sensing and actuating microrobotics for biomedical applications.


New polymer materials are necessary to match the demand for highly integrated, multifunctional, responsive systems for sensing, information processing, soft robotics or multi-parametric implants. Both established
material design concepts based on lithography, and emerging engineering efforts based on additive manufacturing (AM) are currently not able to fully address the need for topologically complex, multifunctional
and stimuli-responsive polymer materials. This proposal aims at establishing a radically new approach for polymer material design, rethinking AM on both material and process level. Here, functionality will be already
embedded at the building block level to emerge into larger scales. The exact methodology relies on polymer microparticles as a novel material basis with arbitrary geometry, function, mechanics and responsiveness.
These microparticulate formulations will serve as predefined, voxel-like building blocks in AM yielding hierarchical assemblies with spatially defined voxel position and programmable, adaptive properties, which clearly go beyond existing functional material classes. With that, 3DPartForm will address the current lack of additive manufacturing providing multifunctional, stimuli-responsive materials, in which not only strongly different, but most importantly functional building blocks with intrinsic time axis will be processed into true 4D-polymer multimaterials. Products emerging from this approach will reach a previously unknown level of system integration, where optical transparency, electric and thermal conductivity as well as diffusivity and mechanical rigidity will become spatiotemporally tunable at single-voxel level. Coupled sensing and actuation operations will be realized by processing, transforming and manipulating single or combined input stimuli within these materials in the focus of 3DPartform, and platforms for biomimetics and cell-free biotechnology will be implemented as a long-term goal.


Net EU contribution
€ 311 786,94
Universitaetsplatz 2
39106 Magdeburg

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Sachsen-Anhalt Sachsen-Anhalt Magdeburg, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (2)