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Technology

Printable Hydraulics is a novel fabrication process that simultaneously prints solid and liquid materials, depositing both photopolymers and a non-curing liquid concurrently to fabricate complex, pre-filled fluidic channels. The printable hydraulic parts are functional, hydraulically actuated assemblies that employ non-solidifying liquids as a force-transmitting component. These parts are printed in a single step using a multi-material inkjet printer that simultaneously fabricates solid and liquid regions within a structure. The printer deposits individual droplets of material in a layer-by-layer build process, wherein individual layers can contain one or more material types. Solids with varying stiffness are used to modulate the flexibility of various portions, enabling prescribed strain in response to applied fluid pressure. Supporting layers are provided either via removable curing support material or by non-curing liquid.