The growing popularity of 3D printing in industrial applications makes resistance to high temperatures a very desirable feature of filaments. Manufacturers are starting to increasingly print components that operate at elevated temperatures. It is much cheaper and faster than traditional metal fabrication. Nevertheless, to ensure the durability and strength of the 3D printed part, the material must be properly selected for the application.
Choosing the right filament with the required properties and strength is a key design element. Thermal resistance is not always as high as that achieved with metals. They are often used because they are relatively easy to obtain and the manufacturing technologies developed. On the other hand, thermoplastics can withstand higher temperatures as well. It gives many possibilities of using 3D plastic printing in industry or engineering.
In industrial applications, the plastic that replaces metal must have high mechanical strength, and at the same time be resistant to relatively high temperatures. While steel has a temperature resistance of up to 870℃, PLA can only work up to 60℃. So what plastics can withstand higher temperatures?
With the introduction of high-temperature-resistant filaments, the approach to 3D printing applications in industry has changed. Currently available filaments have such a high heat resistance that they can successfully replace metal.
If a very high temperature resistance is required, e.g. 400°C, then unfortunately the element must be made of metal, however, if the component is operated at 200°C, it may be made of plastic. Then the appropriate material will be e.g. PEEK, which has become one of the most popular high-temperature materials in 3D printing. It can work for a long time even at 240°C. PEEK is often used in applications requiring the transmission of high loads and temperatures.
If structures require long-term temperature resistance only up to 120°C, the choice of materials is quite wide. PET-G FX120 is a filament specially designed for engineering applications. It is a flexible and very durable material, so it can be used to make functional parts that will withstand normal use. It is thermally stable up to 120°C during long-term operation, and in the case of short-term operation, it can withstand temperatures up to 160°C.
Another example is nylon, eg PA6 Neat, a functional plastic based on polyamide 6. It exhibits increased mechanical strength and also allows long-term operation at a temperature of 120°C. In the case of short-term operation, like the aforementioned PET-G FX120, its temperature resistance reaches 160°C. In addition, PA6 Neat is characterized by low processing shrinkage, which makes it a perfect filament for making functional elements.
WHAT IS THE FILAMENT WITH THE HIGHEST TEMPERATURE RESISTANCE?
The EXTEM AMHH811F material, produced by the Saudi chemical concern SABIC, is resistant to temperatures up to 247°C. The Italian ROBOZE advertises it as the most temperature-resistant filament for 3D printing. ULTEM, on the other hand, has a glass transition temperature of around 217°C, which is also a promising result.
High temperature resistance gives many possibilities for new applications of additive technologies. The big advantage of plastic elements is much lower weight than their metal counterparts. The mentioned EXTEM material could replace many metal parts, while reducing the weight of the devices.