Rheology guiding the design and printability of aqueous colloidal composites for additive manufacturing

Ren H. Bean, Daniel A. Rau, Christopher B. Williams, Timothy E. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Vat photopolymerization (VP) and direct ink write (DIW) additive manufacturing (AM) provide complex geometries with precise spatial control employing a vast array of photo-reactive polymeric systems. Although VP is recognized for superior resolution and surface finish, DIW provides versatility for higher viscosity systems. However, each AM platform presents specific rheological requirements that are essential for successful 3D printing. First, viscosity requirements constrain VP polymeric materials to viscosities below 10 Pa s. Thus, this requirement presents a challenging paradox that must be overcome to attain the physical performance of high molecular weight polymers while maintaining suitable viscosities for VP polymeric materials. Second, the necessary rheological complexity that is required for DIW pastes requires additional rheological measurements to ensure desirable thixotropic behavior. This manuscript describes the importance of rheological measurements when designing polymeric latexes for AM. Latexes effectively decouple the dependency of viscosity on molecular weight, thus enabling high molecular weight polymers with low viscosities. Photo-crosslinking of water-soluble monomers and telechelic oligomeric diacrylates in the presence of the latex enables the fabrication of a scaffold, which is restricted to the continuous aqueous phase and effectively surrounds the latex nanoparticles enabling the printing of otherwise inaccessible high molecular weight polymers. Rheological testing, including both steady and oscillatory shear experiments, provides insights into system properties and provides predictability for successful printing. This perspective article aims to provide an understanding of both chemical functionality (photo- and thermal-reactivity) and rheological response and their importance for the successful design and evaluation of VP and DIW processable latex formulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-616
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vinyl and Additive Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • colloid
  • green body
  • latex
  • photorheology
  • rheology
  • scaffold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Marketing
  • Materials Chemistry


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