Mechanically Robust, Ultraelastic Hierarchical Foam with Tunable Properties via 3D Printing

Qiyi Chen, Peng Fei Cao, Rigoberto C. Advincula*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    135 Citations (Scopus)


    A mechanically robust, ultraelastic foam with controlled multiscale architectures and tunable mechanical/conductive performance is fabricated via 3D printing. Hierarchical porosity, including both macro- and microscaled pores, are produced by the combination of direct ink writing (DIW), acid etching, and phase inversion. The thixotropic inks in DIW are formulated by a simple one-pot process to disperse duo nanoparticles (nanoclay and silica nanoparticles) in a polyurethane suspension. The resulting lightweight foam exhibits tailorable mechanical strength, unprecedented elasticity (standing over 1000 compression cycles), and remarkable robustness (rapidly and fully recover after a load more than 20 000 times of its own weight). Surface coating of carbon nanotubes yields a conductive elastic foam that can be used as piezoresistivity sensor with high sensitivity. For the first time, this strategy achieves 3D printing of elastic foam with controlled multilevel 3D structures and mechanical/conductive properties. Moreover, the facile ink preparation method can be utilized to fabricate foams of various materials with desirable performance via 3D printing.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018 Jan 1


    • Controllable performance
    • Direct ink writing
    • Hierarchical porosity
    • Stress sensing
    • Ultraelastic foams

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
    • Biomaterials
    • Condensed Matter Physics
    • Electrochemistry


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