Electrically assisted 3D Printing of Nacre-inspired Structures with Anisotropic Properties

An electrically assisted vat photopolymerization process using aligned graphene nanoplatelets (aGNPs) in the polymer matrix has been developed to fabricate complex 3D structures with a hierarchical nacre-inspired “brick and mortar” (BM) architecture.

The proposed fabrication procedure takes advantage of the nanoscale-to-microscale assembly induced by the electric field and the microscale-to-macroscale assembly by 3D printing. The 3D-printed hierarchical structures with aGNs show reinforced mechanical properties com- pared to those with random GNs (rGNs). The 3D-printed artificial nacre with aGNs displays comparable specific toughness and strength to the natural nacre. The bioinspired BM architecture enhances the mechanical strength and electrical conduction by aligning GN in each layer to maximize their performance by crack deflection under loading. The electrically assisted 3D-printing method can build a multifunctional lightweight and strong composite with enhanced mechanical/electrical/optical properties.

Full story in Science Advances

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