Three‐dimensional (3D) printing of poly (dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) is realized with a two‐state curing strategy, i.e., photocuring for additively manufacturing high‐precision architectures followed by thermal cross‐linking for high‐performance objects, taking Sylgard‐184 as an example. In the mixture of base and curing agent of Sylgard‐184, the photocuring ingredient methacrylated PDMS is incorporated to form hybrid inks with not only high‐efficiency UV curing ability but also moderate rheological properties for 3D printing. The inks are then used to additively manufacture high‐precision architectures by UV‐assisted direct ink writing. Various architectures such as lattices and honeycombs, channels that can be used as microfluidics, and pressure‐proof pipes with a feature size of ≈100 µm, can be readily printed. Thereafter, thermal cross‐linking at elevated temperature is conducted to obtain the 3D PDMS objects with comparable properties to Sylgard‐184. The facile, universal two‐stage approach to 3D printing of PDMS can facilitate the development of microfluidics, flexible electronics, soft robots, and so on.
This work was conducted by a research team led by Prof. WANG Xiaolong at Lanzhou Institute of Chemical Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and was published online in Macromolecular Rapid Communication in April. Prof. WANG is also a doctoral supervisor of University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.