Functional polymers for medical applications
Manufacturing individualized medical products requires state-of-the-art generative process methods. Rapid Prototyping (RP) is a process that materializes computer aided designs (CAD) of complex components.
In order to manufacture micro-sized (resolution < 1 µm) vascular systems that supply blood to tissue, materials are needed that fulfill process parameters while meeting the high demands of a medical product.
Photo-crosslinked acrylates offer the possibility of developing and supplying suitable materials which meet the requirements of RPs and which can be used as vascular systems, thus fulfilling the requirements of biocompatibility and long-term stability. They are a cost-effective material class suitable for manufacturing inkjet inks for rapid prototyping. Thus there is a large number of commercially available acrylate-functionalized components that produce compounds which create products with the relevant chemical and physical properties. Acrylate-based materials have already stood the test of time in the field of medical technology. Their broad range of mechanical properties, which can be adjusted by selecting the individual components and their composition, means they are suitable for applications ranging from dental fillings to contact lenses.
At the Fraunhofer IAP new photo-crosslinked materials are also developed that meet the process-related boundary conditions for inkjet printing and stereolithographic processes. These include keeping within the viscosity limits of the materials being adapted, achieving two-dimensional UV crosslinking, and curing using concentrated laser light in the visible region.
Highly efficient photo-initiator systems are being developed for innovative curing methods such as multiphoton polymerization (MPP).