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3D PRINT MATERIALS | TECHNOLOGY


Developing 3D print plastics Compared to traditional plastic compounds, materials


for 3D print applications are highly influenced by


process technology. Jennifer Markarian learns how that can be seen in the latest developments


Industrial additive manufacturing (AM) — or, more popularly, 3D printing — techniques place a number of process-specific demands on materials and this can call for a very different approach to formulation. As a consequence, compounds are being developed with new or alternative polymers for this growing application space. And with material performance often very closely linked to the particular 3D printing (AM) process, many polymer suppliers are partnering with printing equipment makers, as well as software and simulation specialists. In some cases, equipment suppliers themselves are taking the lead to offer materials designed for their printers. Arrangements vary across the sector — some 3D


print materials are designed to only work on a certain brand of printers while some are “open source” and can be used with any suitable printer. Solvay has taken the open source option. Its most recent AM material is Solef PVDF, which is now available as a ready-to-use filament. It joins a range of Solvay materials for AM, including KetaSpire polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and Radel polyphe- nylsulphone (PPSU), introduced back in 2018.


www.compoundingworld.com


The key attraction of the Solef PVDF fluoropoly- mer is its lower melting temperature, which makes it compatible with more printer models and extends applicability to a broader range of indus- trial applications. PVDF’s chemical and weather resistance are beneficial for fittings and valves in oil and gas or chemical processing, for example. For the PVDF filament, Solvay joined Ultimaker’s


Material Alliance program. Christophe Schramm, New Technologies Manager at Solvay Specialty Polymers, said the new grade was developed specifically to meet the viscosity and dimensional stability requirements of 3D printing and is compat- ible with Ultimaker’s low-temperature printers for industrial-grade applications. Schramm said the partnership with Ultimaker allows it to offer material, machine and software as a bundle. However, it can also be supplied for use on other printers. Solvay has also been working with other third


party partners. Together with Chinese filament maker Polymaker it has introduced two PC blends, Polymaker PC-ABS and PC-PBT, and a flame retardant grade, PolyMax PC-FR, that can achieve a V-0 flame resistance rating in the UL94 test.


Main image: 3D print materials — such as this Evonik Vestamid PEBA grade — frequently need to be tailored to the specific build platform to gain optimal results


� May 2020 | COMPOUNDING WORLD 29


IMAGE: EVONIK


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