2, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, United States
Poly(4,4'-oxydiphenylene-pyromellitimide) (ODA-PMDA polyimide), commonly known as KaptonTM, is a high performance polymer with exceptional thermal and thermomechanical properties from -260 °C to 400 °C. Unfortunately, an all-aromatic structure results in insolubility, prohibiting traditional manufacturing processes. This limits commercial KaptonTM products to films and coatings, which are processed in a 2-step procedure. The advent of 3D printing revolutionized modern manufacturing and motivated reinvestigation into overcoming the processing challenges of KaptonTM. We will present a facile chemical modification of KaptonTM, which allowed for the development of KaptonTM into 3D shapes. In particular, attaching (meth)acrylate moieties to soluble ODA-PMDA precursors enable their processing using stereolithography (SLA). SLA utilizes UV light to photocrosslink the polymeric precursors layer-by-layer resulting in 3D objects. Subsequent thermal treatment yielded 3D parts consisting solely of KaptonTM. This processing strategy expands KaptonTM products from films to 3D objects, thus opening the door to create previously unimaginable parts for applications including spacecrafts/satellites, electronics and automotive.