27. Oct. 2021

The team from CEITEC BUT dealing with advanced polymeric materials has been cooperating with Polish colleagues from the Technical University in Kraków since October. In the joint project, the researchers will focus on research in the field of advanced photopolymerized nanocomposite materials intended for 3D printers.

Specifically, a team of Czech and Polish scientists will investigate the effects associated with the addition of nanoparticles to photopolymer resins for 3D printing. This type of printer uses selective light curing of the liquid mixture, and various particles can be added to these mixtures to change the properties. A typical example is pigment particles, which give the material a characteristic color, or electrically conductive carbon nanotubes.

"The aim is to describe in general the physicochemical phenomena that occur during printing because 3D printing has certain specifics compared to other photopolymer processes, which place increased demands on the accuracy and speed of photochemical conversion," says CEITEC BUT team leader Petr Lepcio. This is basic research, and therefore it is not the intention to formulate the composition of a specific print material, which would then be sold. However, the gained knowledge could contribute to the design of commercial products in the future.

In a project that will last three years, researchers from CEITEC BUT will mainly address nanoparticles and how they affect the properties of polymers. Not only long-term experience will help them, but also the background of CEITEC Nano laboratories with top electron microscopes. Polish colleagues led by Joanna Ortyll will specialize more in the development of highly efficient photoinitiation systems. "The common task will be to explore the interaction of new photoinitiators and nanoparticles," says Lepcio.

Both teams came together based on a call from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic with the Polish agency Narodowe Centrum Nauki. "A colleague read their scientific articles about photoinitiators, and when a call for projects came up, we approached them with an offer of cooperation. And since covid already prevailed during the preparation of the project last year, we are banking mainly on remote cooperation and the sharing of ideas, know-how, results, and samples, rather than on the physical exchange of staff," explains Petr Lepcio. And it paid off. The first results of the cooperation have already been reflected in a joint article, which is currently under review. Nevertheless, both teams hope that the situation will soon allow for personal cooperation in the form of internships.

Author: Aneta Matyšová

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