Thermoplastics are popular for 3D printing manufacturing because they can be melted and reshaped multiple times without losing their properties. Here are some common thermoplastics used in 3D printing and their properties:
ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): durable plastic that withstands high temperatures and impacts. It is commonly used in automotive and household applications.
PLA (Polylactic Acid): a biodegradable plastic made from renewable resources such as cornstarch. It is easy to print with and produces a glossy finish, but it is not as strong as other thermoplastics.
PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol): a rigid and flexible plastic resistant to chemicals and UV light. It is commonly used in food packaging and medical applications.
Nylon: a solid and flexible plastic that can withstand high temperatures and abrasion. It is commonly used in industrial and aerospace applications.
TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane): a flexible and rubbery plastic that can stretch without breaking. It is commonly used in phone cases, footwear, and other consumer products.
When choosing a thermoplastic for 3D printing, it’s essential to consider factors such as strength, durability, flexibility, temperature resistance, and the application’s specific requirements. Equipment used in space encounters extreme environments, such as significant temperature changes in short periods, extreme radiations, etc. One problem encountered in space is the rapid build-up of electrostatic charge. To address such conditions, Stratasys Advanced Materials has developed ESD PEKK, a thermoplastic for additive manufacturing with electrostatic dissipative (ESD) qualities. The ESD and excellent mechanical and thermal properties make ESD PEKK suitable for advanced electronics applications, such as space use.
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