Direct Printing of Functional 3D Objects Using Polymerization-Induced Phase Separation

3D printing has enabled the unique combination of structures, geometries and functional properties
otherwise unattainable via traditional manufacturing techniques, yet its adoption as a mainstream
manufacturing platform for functional objects is hindered by the physical challenges in printing of
multiple materials. Vat polymerization offers a polymer chemistry-based approach to generating
smart objects, in which phase separation is controlled in order to achieve, at once, desirable
chemical and functional properties of final 3D printed objects, and indeed direct-production of 3D
printed smart objects. This study demonstrates how the spatial distribution of different material
phases can be modulated by controlling the kinetics of gelation, polymer network density and
material diffusivity through the judicious selection of photoresin components. A rich selection of
morphologies and functional coatings are generated, illustrating a promising way forward in the
integration of dissimilar materials in 3D printed smart or functional objects.