Silicone printing can enable a lot more accessibility and customizability towards utilizing silicone in different applications, including medicine for its biocompatibility. However, challenges existed for printing in specific geometries due to the lack of guidelines and studies on the mechanical properties. To support the understanding of printing three-dimensional silicone structure having different infill patterns and gel-like material, this paper conducted a parametric study for the specimens printed using a Bowden-type silicone printer and measurements of the tensile properties. Four printing parameters of print speed, infill density, flow rate, and infill pattern, are categorized following the Taguchi L9 method, and arranged into the four-parameter-three-level orthogonal array. The signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio was calculated based on the principle of the-larger-the-better, and analysis of variance (ANOVA) was also obtained. Tensile performance was further discussed with the characterization of internal structure, using the cross-sections of the printed specimens. It was found that the change of flow rate is the most significant to the tensile stress; and for the tensile strain, infill pattern was found to be the most significant parameter. The Line infill pattern consistently presented the highest tensile stress. Agglomeration can be seen inside the printed structure, hence optimal printing parameters play an important role for complicated geometry, while ensuring the flow rate and infill density do not exceed a reasonable value. This study would serve as the guideline for printing three-dimensional silicone structures.
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