Additive Manufacturing of Silicone Composites for Soft Actuation

Aslan Miriyev, Boxi Xia, Jacob Carroll Joseph, Hod Lipson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Elastomer composites have proven to be promising functional materials for soft actuators. Direct manufacturing of these materials is a practical prerequisite for Soft Robotics applications, where form and function are intricately entangled. In this article we show a multimaterial printer and associated processes for in situ fabrication of silicones and silicone-based elastomer composites for soft actuators. We discuss the fabrication process for both the silicone/ethanol composite material and encapsulating silicone skin using an inline passive mixing system, followed by characterization of the rheological and mechanical properties of the printed materials for various print modalities. Rheological study revealed the conditions, allowing continuous 3D printing of both small and big items out of silicone rubber and silicone/ethanol composite. Anisotropic mechanical properties allow for the design of functional characteristics of soft actuators by choosing print design modalities. We demonstrate a single-print-job additive manufacturing of functional multimaterial systems for soft actuation, and suggest that the developed processes will allow us to design soft robots with a broad range of actuation characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
Journal3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D printing
  • elastomer composite
  • inline passive mixer
  • mechanical properties
  • rheological properties
  • soft actuator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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