Bonding between silicones and thermoplastics using 3D printed mechanical interlocking

Lars Rossing, Rob B.N. Scharff, Bryan Chömpff, Charlie C.L. Wang, Eugeni L. Doubrovski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
195 Downloads (Pure)


Silicones have desirable properties such as skin-safety, high temperature-resistance, and flexibility. Many applications require the presence of a hard body connected to the silicone. Traditionally, it has been difficult to create strong bonding between silicones and hard materials. In this study, a technique is presented to control the bonding strength between silicones and thermoplastics through mechanical interlocking. This is realized through a hybrid fabrication method where silicone is cast onto a 3D-printed mold and interlocking structure. The influence of the structure's design parameters on the bonding strength is explored through theoretical modeling and physical testing, while the manufacturability of the 3D-printed structure is ensured. A CAD tool is developed to automatically apply the interlocking structure to product surfaces. The user interface visualizes the theoretical strength of the cells as the designer adjusts the cell parameters, allowing the designer to iteratively optimize the structure to the product's load case. The bonding strength of the presented mechanical interlocking structure is more than 5.5 times higher than can be achieved with a commercially available primer. The presented technique enables custom digital design and manufacturing of durable free-form parts. This is demonstrated through application of the technique in over-molded products, airtight seals, and soft pneumatic actuators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108254
Number of pages12
JournalMaterials and Design
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • 3D printing
  • Bonding
  • Casting
  • Fused Deposition Modeling
  • Mechanical interlocking
  • Silicones


Dive into the research topics of 'Bonding between silicones and thermoplastics using 3D printed mechanical interlocking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this