Additive Manufacturing and Vulcanization of Carbon Black-filled Natural Rubber-based Components

Additive Manufacturing and Vulcanization of Carbon Black-filled Natural Rubber-based Components

Kategorien Zeitschriften/Aufsätze (reviewed)
Jahr 2021
Autoren Leineweber, S.; Sundermann, L.; Bindszus, L.; Overmeyer, L.; Klie, B.; Wittek, H.; Giese, U.
Veröffentlicht in Rubber Chemistry and Technology

Additive manufacturing of thermoplastics or metals is a well-approved sustainable process for obtaining rapidly precise and individual technical components. Except for crosslinked silicone rubber or thermoplastic elastomers, there is no method of additive manufacturing of elastomers. Based on the development of the additive manufacturing of elastomers (AME) process, the material group of rubber-based cured elastomers may gain first access to the process field of three-dimensional (3D) printing. Printing and crosslinking of rubber is separated into two steps. In the first step, printing is realized by extrusion of the rubber by using a twin-screw extruder, which works according to the derived fused-filament-fabrication principle. In the second step, the component is vulcanized in a high-pressure hot-air autoclave. Because of the plastic flow behavior of non–crosslinked rubber materials, a thermoplastic shell is probably needed to maintain the geometry and position of the additively manufactured rubber. In this way, one layer of thermoplastic and one layer of rubber are printed alternatingly until the component is finished. Afterward, the manufactured binary component is placed in an autoclave to obtain the elastomer after vulcanization under a hot-air and high-pressure atmosphere. Then, the thermoplastic shell is removed from the elastomer and can subsequently be recycled. As compared with conventional thermoplastics, the high viscosity of rubber during processing and its instable shape after extrusion are challenging factors in the development of the AME. This contribution will show a modified 3D printer; explain the printing process from the designed component, via shell generation, to the vulcanized component; and show first printed components.

DOI 10.5254/rct.21.79906