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Inkjet printing of reinforcing patterns for the mechanical stabilization of fragile polymeric microsieves

: Hammerschmidt, J.; Wolf, F.M.; Goedel, W.A.; Baumann, R.R.


Langmuir. The ACS journal of surfaces and colloids 28 (2012), Nr.6, S.3316-3321
ISSN: 0743-7463
ISSN: 1520-5827
Fraunhofer ENAS ()

Inkjet printing is employed to apply a mechanically stable reinforcing pattern to polymeric microsieves prepared by float casting, where particles are used as molds for the pores. A mixture of silica particles and nonvolatile monomers is cast onto a water surface and subsequently photopolymerized to produce membranes consisting of a polymer film with embedded particles. These composite membranes are transferred onto an aluminum foil. Subsequently, a UV-curable ink is directly inkjet-printed onto the membranes in line patterns of grids or honeycombs and cured by UV radiation to create a mechanically reinforcing pattern. Afterwards, the particles and the aluminum foil are removed by chemical etching. The reinforcing pattern overcasts 40% of the previously manufactured membrane, is mechanically stable, and gives the microsieves such a robustness that they can be handled in further manufacturing processes.