Press release

Fraunhofer WKI in the BMBF technology discussion: New materials for UV-curing processes in additive manufacturing

Braunschweig / October 29, 2020

In collaboration with industrial partners, researchers from the Fraunhofer WKI are developing UV-curing materials for additive manufacturing with improved properties. The team thereby utilizes itaconic acid that has been biotechnologically extracted from renewable raw materials. The results of the project so far will be presented in a free virtual technology discussion hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on 11th November 2020. It will take place within the framework of the “Formnext Connect” trade fair.

A viscous, honey-colored liquid is poured from a glass vessel into a metal container.
© Fraunhofer WKI I Manuela Lingnau
Prepolymer on the basis of itaconic acid for additive manufacturing with improved properties.

UV-curing materials for the additive manufacture of polymers are often based on radical-curing polyesters and polyurethanes. Acrylic acid is primarily used as the UV-curing component in these resins. Despite a relatively large choice of materials in this area, there is nevertheless a need for the further optimization of a number of properties of the cured components, in particular as regards thermal stability, brittleness and shrinkage. In collaboration with the companies Marabu GmbH & Co. KG, cirp GmbH, Schultheiss GmbH, BMW AG and Worlée Chemie GmbH, the Fraunhofer WKI intends to improve the properties of UV-curing materials for additive manufacturing. The key to this is provided by itaconic acid, which is extracted biotechnologically from sugar. It is a monomer which is produced biotechnologically in large quantities from renewable raw materials.

“Together with the project partners, we have succeeded in synthesizing 3D printing materials which can be processed by commercially available machines. The special chemistry also harbors the potential to develop into an alternative to existing acrylate-based materials and to even surpass them technically,” explained Dr. Tobias Robert, Project Manager at the Fraunhofer WKI. The industrial partners have adapted and successfully processed the first generated resins for various additive-manufacturing processes: stereolithography (SLA), digital light processing (DLP), and multi-jet modeling (MJM). The suitability for automotive applications has been evaluated on test specimens and sample parts.

The results obtained so far will be presented on 11th November 2020 during the virtual technology discussion “Materialinnovationen für die additive Fertigung” (Material innovations for additive manufacturing) hosted by the BMBF. In this digital event, innovative developments in the field of additive research will be presented with the aim of strengthening the networking between research and industry. Participation in the BMBF discussion is free of charge. The event is being held in conjunction with the leading trade fair for additive manufacturing, “Formnext 2020” which, for the first time, is being held this year in a purely virtual form as “Formnext Connect” as a result of the corona problem.

Further information on the event and an online registration form can be found here:
https://www.werkstofftechnologien.de/veranstaltungen/bmbf-technologiegespraech-materialinnovationen-fuer-die-additive-fertigung

The research project is supported through funds from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the funding code (03XP0095E) and is featured in the brochure “Deutschland druckt dreidimensional”.