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Kuraray’s New Photocurable Elastomer Used as Medium for 3D Printing

Published on 2015-10-08. Author : SpecialChem

Employing one of its proprietary technologies, Kuraray Co., Ltd. has developed a photocurable elastomer. This technology enables good control of the molecular weight as well as the distribution of the elastomer and the photocurable portions within the molecular structure of a polymer, a process that yields superior curability and elasticity compared with other photopolymers on the market.

Photocurable Elastomer Sample After Curing
Fig. 1: Photocurable Elastomer Sample
After Curing

Rapid UV curable photopolymers have been developed for a wide variety of fields, including adhesives and coatings, due primarily to their excellent workability. Besides being indispensable to the manufacture of displays and electronic components, they are also used as the medium for 3D printing.

With this newly developed proprietary photocurable elastomer, Kuraray will continue exploring a range of markets, especially adhesives, coatings and molding materials.

Background Development

Using its proprietary living anionic polymerization technology, which enables the precise design of polymers, Kuraray has created such thermoplastic elastomer products as SEPTON, which has superb moldability, and KURARITY, an acrylic elastomer with superior elasticity, transparency and weather resistance.

Using the know-how cultivated through these endeavors, it has now successfully developed a photocurable elastomer, the market for which is expected to expand in a wide range of fields.

Characteristics of the New Photocurable Elastomer

  • The length of the elastomer portion of the molecule can be adjusted as designed, enabling desired elasticity and strength.
  • A wide range of properties can be achieved by combining with various monomers that are compatible.
  • The curing time is short compared with that of common photopolymers, and the cured elastomer has elasticity. Depending on the design, adhesive properties can also be achieved.
  • It has excellent dimensional stability. The material shows minimal shrinkage upon curing.
  • It possesses the characteristics of typical acrylics, including transparency, weather resistance and adhesiveness.

Possible Applications

 Target Area  Possible Applications  Performance Expected from the Material
 Adhesives  Displays, electronic components and optical-use lenses  Adhesiveness, curability, dimensional stability, elasticity and    transparency
 Coatings  Automotive lenses and reflectors, printing plates and ink, paints and  construction materials  Transparency, weather resistance, workability, elasticity and      curability
 Molding  Materials  3D printing and nanoimprints  Impact resistance, transparency, weather resistance, elasticity    and curability

Stress-strain curves of four types of photocurable elastomers with different structures after curing
Fig. 2: Stress-strain curves of four types of photocurable elastomers with different structures after curing

About Kuraray

Kuraray was founded in 1926 for the purpose of commercializing synthetic rayon, which was cutting edge technology at the time. In 1950 during the post-World War II period, as Japan's first domestic producer of synthetic fiber based on original Japanese technologies, Kuraray became one among the world leaders in the commercialization of PVA (poval) fiber under the KURALON brand, ushering in Japan's pioneering era in the chemical synthetic fiber industry.

Source: Kuraray

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