Bactericidal Lubricating Synthetic Materials for Three-Dimensional Additive Assembly with Controlled Mechanical Properties
Jihoon Ahn, Yale Jeon, Kang Won Lee, Jonghun Yi, Sun Woo Kim, and Dong Rip Kim*
3D printable synthetic materials have been developed to realize desired surface and mechanical properties. Lubricating synthetic surfaces have broad technological impacts on many applications including food packaging, microfluidic systems, and biomedical devices. However, combining soft materials with lubricants leads to significant phase separation and swelling phenomena, together with lowered mechanical strength, impeding full utilization of lubricating synthetic surfaces with desired shapes in a highly controllable manner. Here, we report a new platform to create a 3D printable lubricant–polymer composite (3D-LUBRIC) for the seamless fabrication of multidimensional structures with diverse functionalities. The rationally designed lubricant–polymer mixtures including silica aerogel particles not only exhibit suitable rheological properties for direct ink writing without phase separation but also enable the deterministic additive assembly of heterogeneous materials, which have large mismatches of oil permeability, with no distinct shape distortion. While exhibiting excellent lubricating properties for a variety of liquids, 3D-LUBRIC shows tunable mechanical properties with desired functionalities, such as optical transparency, flexibility and stretchability, and anti-icing and antibacterial/bactericidal properties. We employ the proposed platform to fabricate self-cleanable containers and antibacterial/bactericidal medical tubes. Our platform can offer new opportunities for building low-adhesive, multifunctional synthetic materials with customized shapes for diverse applications.