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Additive manufacturing of micro-architected metals via hydrogel infusion

Saccone, Max A. and Gallivan, Rebecca A. and Narita, Kai and Yee, Daryl W. and Greer, Julia R. (2022) Additive manufacturing of micro-architected metals via hydrogel infusion. Nature, 612 (7941). pp. 685-690. ISSN 0028-0836. PMCID PMC9713131. doi:10.1038/s41586-022-05433-2.

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Metal additive manufacturing (AM) enables the production of high value and high performance components with applications from the aerospace to biomedical fields. Layer-by-layer fabrication circumvents the geometric limitations of traditional metalworking techniques, allowing topologically optimized parts to be made rapidly and efficiently. Existing AM techniques rely on thermally initiated melting or sintering for part shaping, a costly and material-limited process. We report an AM technique that produces metals and alloys with microscale resolution via vat photopolymerization (VP). 3D-architected hydrogels are infused with metal precursors, then calcined and reduced to convert the hydrogel scaffolds into miniaturized metal replicas. This approach represents a paradigm shift in VP; the material is selected only after the structure is fabricated. Unlike existing VP strategies, which incorporate target materials or precursors into the photoresin during printing, our method does not require re-optimization of resins and curing parameters for different materials, enabling quick iteration, compositional tuning, and the ability to fabricate multimaterials. We demonstrate AM of metals with critical dimensions of ~40 µm that are challenging to fabricate using conventional processes. Such hydrogel-derived metals have highly twinned microstructures and unusually high hardness, providing a pathway to create advanced metallic micromaterials.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access CentralArticle InCaltech News
Saccone, Max A.0000-0003-3846-2908
Gallivan, Rebecca A.0000-0001-6516-2180
Narita, Kai0000-0002-3867-8234
Yee, Daryl W.0000-0002-4114-6167
Greer, Julia R.0000-0002-9675-1508
Additional Information:This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences under award #DE-SC0016945. We thank Dr. Chi Ma for support and assistance with instruments in the Geological and Planetary Sciences Division Analytical Facility at Caltech, as well as Dr. Mingjie Xu and Dr. Xiaoqing Pan for assistance with TEM experiments at UC Irvine Materials Research Institute. M.A.S. acknowledges a graduate fellowship from the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech. R.A.G. acknowledges the AI4SCIENCE graduate fellowship at Caltech. K.N. acknowledges a fellowship from the Masason Foundation. Author contributions. M.A.S, D.W.Y, and J.R.G. conceived of and designed the experiments. M.A.S and D.W.Y designed the photoresin, printing parameters, and swelling protocol and fabricated samples. M.A.S, D.W.Y, and K.N. performed the thermal treatments and FIB/SEM/EDS experiments. M.A.S performed the DSC, TGA, and XRD experiments. R.A.G. performed the nanoindentation and EBSD experiments, and prepared TEM samples. All authors analyzed data and discussed the findings. M.A.S, R.A.G, D.W.Y, and J.R.G. wrote the manuscript. All authors edited and approved the manuscript. Competing interests. K.N. founded the company 3D Architech, LLC, which has an option and right to acquire an exclusive license to US Patent 11318435B2.
Group:Resnick Sustainability Institute
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0016945
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Masason FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:7941
PubMed Central ID:PMC9713131
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20221026-429882000.2
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:117603
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:27 Oct 2022 16:30
Last Modified:27 Feb 2023 18:09

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