2013 Volume 7 Issue 2 Pages 163-168
Gels are kinds of soft and wet materials, having many unique characteristics such as low friction, material permeability, and biocompatibility. In the last decade, the mechanical weakness of the gels has been overcome by the advent of novel high-strength gels, which promises to expand the industrial and medical applications of the soft and wet materials. Here an optical 3D printer was developed to fabricate high-strength gels with free form. For fabricating the gel materials by the printer, one of the strongest gels, called Double-Network (DN) gel, was used. The DN gels were easily prepared by using the grained particle type of the1st gels. The DN gels prepared by this method were named the particle-DN gels. The particles of the 1st gels were mixed with the 2nd pre-gel solution, and the solution was gelled by the irradiated of UV light. In the printer, the laser beam of UV light was lead to the solution through an optical fiber and the scanning of the fiber in the solution was controlled by 3D-CAD. The printer was named Easy Realizer of Soft and Wet Industrial Materials (SWIM-ER). The mechanical properties of the DN gels printed by the SWIM-ER were evaluated.