Photopolymerization Reaction Rates By Reflectance Real Time Infrared Spectroscopy: Application To Stereolithography Resins

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Chartoff, Richard P.
Du, Jin

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An advanced real time infrared technique for studying the isothermal in-situ cure of ultra-fast photopolymerization reactions has been developed. The method, referred to as reflectance real time infrared (RRTIR), involves time resolved IR analysis by reflected IR radiation while a resin sample is being exposed to a UV laser beam. The effect of factors such as chemical composition, radiation intensity, and temperature on reaction rate were determined for multifunctional acrylate resins exposed to a HeCd laser (325 nm). Isothermal cure profiles were monitored quantitatively through disappearance of the 810 cm-1 acrylate IR absorbance band. The dark reaction after the UV radiation was turned off also was monitored. The RRTIR method is shown to be highly effective for quantifying photopolymerization reactions in the millisecond time range. The rate data indicate that quantitative comparisons between reactivities and conversions for different stereolithography resins are possible using this method under conditions that simulate the SLA process. Also, the data show conclusively that the reaction continues for long periods of time after initial laser exposure. This is expected to be a significant factor in the development of warpage and curl during the SLA building process.


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