Remi Thiria1 Karsten Schlichter2 Jean-Marc Frances2 Damien Djian2

1, R&D, Elkem Silicones NA, York, South Carolina, United States
2, Elkem Silicones France, Lyon, , France

Due to their outstanding properties like biocompatibility, hypoallergenicity, chemical inertness, thermo-stability resistance and flexibility at low temperatures, soft silicone elastomers are the material of choice in many healthcare applications such as prosthesis, drug delivery, implantable devices, comfort care, audiology and implantable devices.
Traditional manufacturing processes such as casting and injection molding, are currently used for the preparation of biocompatible materials or medical devices however there is a strong need for customized silicone parts.
Additive manufacturing (AM) and especially 3D printing is a tool that offers increased design freedom and enable users to redesign existing parts but also create unique parts that can not be manufactured with any of the current traditional manufacturing processes.
This technical lecture will introduce the new challenges and benefits of AM to make personalized silicone elastomers against the traditional ways of conception/processing. Due to its low elastic modulus and poor shape retaining ability during the layer-by-layer process, silicone elastomer AM could be technically challenging. A good understanding of the relationship between input and output parameters during the AM is key. Mastering such parameters along with the 3D printer machine and the silicone chemistry have allowed us to predict both the aspect and performances of the 3D printed part.