3D-Printed Conductive Carbon-Infused Thermoplastic Polyurethane.Polymers (Basel). 2020 May 27; 12(6)P
3D printable, flexible, and conductive composites are prepared by incorporating a thermoplastic elastomer and electrically conductive carbon fillers. The advantageous printability, workability, chemical resistance, electrical conductivity, and biocompatibility components allowed for an enabling of 3D-printed electronics, electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding, static elimination, and biomedical sensors. Carbon-infused thermoplastic polyurethane (C/TPU) composites have been demonstrated to possess right-strained sensing abilities and are the candidate in fields such as smart textiles and biomedical sensing. Flexible and conductive composites were prepared by a mechanical blending of biocompatible TPU and carbons. 3D structures that exhibit mechanical flexibility and electric conductivity were successfully printed. Three different types of C/TPU composites, carbon nanotube (CNT), carbon black (CCB), and graphite (G) were prepared with differentiating sizes and composition of filaments. The conductivity of TPU/CNT and TPU/CCB composite filaments increased rapidly when the loading amount of carbon fillers exceeded the filtration threshold of 8%-10% weight. Biocompatible G did not form a conductive pathway in the TPU; resistance to indentation deformation of the TPU matrix was maintained by weight by 40%. Adding a carbon material to the TPU improved the mechanical properties of the composites, and carbon fillers could improve electrical conductivity without losing biocompatibility. For the practical use of the manufactured filaments, optimal printing parameters were determined, and an FDM printing condition was adjusted. Through this process, a variety of soft 3D-printed C/TPU structures exhibiting flexible and robust features were built and tested to investigate the performance of the possible application of 3D-printed electronics and medical scaffolds.