Design of soft matter for additive processing

Chun Lam Clement Chan, Jay Matthew Taylor, Emily Catherine Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Digital assembly via extrusion-based additive manufacturing, or three-dimensional (3D) printing, grants the opportunity to attain exquisite control over material structure and composition at the local (‘voxel’) level. The synthetic incorporation of a diverse array of chemistries into 3D-printed soft materials has expanded its use into many application areas. However, substantial opportunity exists for synthesizing materials in which the functional microstructure (at both filler and molecular levels) interacts with the processing flows of extrusion-based manufacturing to achieve unique and enhanced properties. Here we articulate principles for designing and synthesizing soft materials with the potential to generate printed structures with superlative mechanical and stimuli-responsive properties. Specifically, we consider the rheological requirements of printing via direct ink writing and materials extrusion, and examine materials that show printing-directed alignment or trapping of tailored non-equilibrium structures. Finally, we discuss characterization approaches that connect filament-level microstructure with macroscopic behaviour, thus ‘closing the loop’ of material development. Collectively, these create the potential for additive manufacturing to achieve voxel-level control of composition, microstructure and properties. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)592-600
Number of pages9
JournalNature Synthesis
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Design of soft matter for additive processing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this