The most prevalent materials used in the Additive Manufacturing era are polymers and plastics. Unfortunately, these materials are recognized for their negative environmental impact as they are primarily nonrecyclable, resulting in environmental pollution. In recent years, a new sustainable alternative to these materials has been emerging: Reversible Covalent Bond-Containing Polymers (RCBPs). These materials can be recycled, reprocessed, and reused multiple times without losing their properties. Nonetheless, they have two significant drawbacks when used in 3D printing. First, some require adding new materials every reprinting cycle, and second, others require high temperatures for (re)printing, limiting recyclability, and increasing energy consumption. This study, thus, introduces fully recyclable RCBPs as a sustainable approach for radiation-based printing technologies. This approach enables multiple (re)printing cycles at low temperatures (50 °C lower than the lowest reported) without adding new materials. It involves purposefully synthesized polymers that undergo reversible photopolymerization, composed of a tin-based catalyst. An everyday microwave oven quickly depolymerized these polymers, obtaining complete reversibility.
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© 2023 The Authors. Advanced Materials published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.
- 3D printing
- radiation curing