July 16, 2013 Volume 09 Issue 27

Materials News & Products

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New metal 3D-printing materials include Inconel, titanium, and maraging steel at Xometry

Xometry has added four new 3D-printed metals to its on-demand manufacturing services: maraging steel, Inconel 625, Inconel 718, and titanium. These premium alloys complement the already available stainless steel and aluminum metal 3D printing. Metal parts in these alloys are produced using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), which fuses powdered metal with a high-powered laser to build parts layer by layer.
Learn all about these materials in this Xometry blog.

Ultramid Advanced grades now available with carbon-fiber reinforcement

BASF has expanded its polyphthal-amide (PPA) portfolio of Ultramid Advanced with carbon-fiber reinforced grades. With fillings of 20%, 30%, and 40% carbon fiber, these new materials make extremely lightweight parts, safely replace aluminum and magnesium without loss in stiffness and strength, and are electrically conductive. They can be used to manufacture automotive structural parts for body, chassis, and powertrain; for pumps, fans, gears, and compressors in industrial applications; and as stable and ultra-lightweight components in consumer electronics.
Learn more.

High-flow plastics for medical and healthcare markets

The Polyplastics Group has expanded its DURACON polyoxy-methylene (POM) PM series portfolio with the development of a new high-flow grade for drug contact and delivery applications for the medical and healthcare market. The new grade, DURACON PM27S01N, offers reduced wall thickness, miniaturization, and lower weight for various medical devices that are becoming increasingly complicated and highly functional. This product delivers global medical and food regulatory compliance.
Learn more.

Discover the design and functional advantages of copper foam

Copper foam from Goodfellow combines the outstanding thermal conductivity of copper with the structural benefits of a metal foam. These features are of particular interest to design engineers working in the fields of medical products and devices, defense systems and manned flight, power generation, and the manufacture of semiconductor devices. This product has a true skeletal structure with no voids, inclusions, or entrapments. A perennial favorite of Designfax readers.
Learn more.

PBT and PPS plastics for driver-assist automotive applications

The growing trend toward electric vehicles is spurring material suppliers like Polyplastics Co. to position its innovative resin products for use in Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) parts that enable autonomous driving. The company's DURANEX PBT and DURAFIDE PPS materials -- targeted for sensors in radar and camera bracket systems -- show great promise in delivering low warpage, dimensional stability, and a low dielectric constant.
Learn more.

Customized ABS with metallic effect

Avient Corp. has just added a new customized ABS formulation that features a metallic effect to its Artisan pre-colored thermoplastic series. The material was developed to help electronics manufacturers eliminate the painting process while achieving scratch and chemical resistance and sustainability goals. By using Artisan pre-colored ABS thermoplastics, molders are able to produce parts with a brilliant, high-gloss metallic effect without any secondary processing.
Learn more.

World's tallest production metal-powder 3D printer

VELO3D's next-gen Sapphire metal 3D printer with cylindrical 315-mm diameter build chamber is now available in 400-mm and 1,000-mm configurations. That means users can create SupportFree parts that are up to 1 m tall with the biggest machine -- with no tradeoff in part quality. Sapphire features dual 1-kW lasers and in-situ metrology sensors that enable visibility into the quality of every layer of the build. This system is compatible with nickel-based alloys.
Learn more.

Graphite fire-retardant additive for plastics

NeoGraf Solutions has just announced the addition of GrafGuard 280-50N to its lineup of expandable graphite flake, non-halogenated, non-flammable, fire-retardant additives. This product is specifically targeted toward the thermoplastics industry, especially polymers with high processing temps including composites and multi-functional systems with high melting points for both injection-molded and thermoformed applications. It offers a much wider range of polymer systems -- such as polypropylene, polystyrene, PET, nylon, and ABS -- than the company's previous products. The graphite expansion, initiated by a fire, can be more than 100 times its original thickness, resulting in a non-burnable, insulating layer.
Learn more.

Zirconia: Toughest of technical ceramics also allows very fine features

Zirconia partially stabilized with yttria (PSZ) features a self-healing effect that fights micro cracks and therefore makes this material tough against impact. The extremely fine available grain size is also recommended where fabrication of very fine features and thin edges is required to hold up well in applications that include medical, aerospace, semiconductor, instrumentation, and industrial.
Learn more and view an informative video from Insaco.

Add conductive performance to thermoset and thermoplastic composites

VeeloVEIL from Veelo Technologies is an extremely light and conductive metallized nonwoven material engineered to add conductive performance to thermoset and thermoplastic composites. It is used by the aerospace industry to protect composite aerostructures from environmental and man-made hazards, and improve survivability. Available in 12- and 36-in.-wide roll stock, VeeloVEIL is electrically uniform and conforms to complex curves. This specialty material is used for lightning strike protection and electromagnetic effects protection, including EMI shielding, asset hardening, and repairing electrical networks on composite-skinned air vehicles.
Learn more.

Design Tip: Thermoplastic vs. thermoset

Two broad categories of plastic materials exist: thermoplastics and thermosets, which are differentiated based on their behaviors in the presence of heat. This informative design tip from Protolabs offers a few considerations to keep in mind when using these materials. Includes guidelines for using thermoplastics and considerations for thermosets.
Read the Protolabs design tip.

PAEK polymer made specifically for 3D printing

VICTREX AM 200 filament has been specifically developed and optimized for additive manufacturing. The excellent mechanical properties of PAEK are in demand for high-performance parts. However, until now they were difficult to be fully realized in 3D-printed parts with existing choices such as PEEK and PEKK. For example, repurposing injection molding PEEK into filament fusion AM typically results in weak parts because of poor interlayer bonding. This new material is designed to address this weakness in printing PEEK. It has a higher Z-axis strength and is stronger in the XY direction, with a better fused filament forming (FFF) printing adaptability than the existing PAEK materials.
Learn more.

Engineering plastic with optimized sliding friction properties for automotive

BASF has just launched an engineering plastic that is particularly suited for automotive parts that come into contact with hot oil. The new polyethersulfone (PESU) Ultrason E0510 C2TR shows very good tribological properties, high oil resistance, and excellent dimensional stability. The injection-molding grade with a 10 percent carbon-fiber reinforcement can be used within a wide temperature range between -30 and 180 C. It is easy to process because of its low viscosity and very good flow properties.
Learn more.

Self-lubricating polymers improve surf machines

A company in Brazil that designs fitness training equipment that simulates the movements of a surfboard reduced costs by 70 percent by switching to bearings manufactured by igus, the Germany-based motion plastics expert. The bearings also cut down on maintenance significantly.
Read the full article.

DURANEX PBT grade for high-voltage automotive applications

The Polyplastics Group is now offering an improved polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) grade that provides improved tracking resistance for a range of high-voltage automotive components. DURANEX PBT CG7030 is a 30 percent glass-filled material that also delivers strong dimensional stability and highly stable electrical resistance and dielectric breakdown properties. After extensive testing, Polyplastics determined that PBTs are more suitable than PA66 for use in high-voltage applications when it comes to moisture absorption, dimensional change rates, and dielectric breakdown strength in high-heat and humid environments.
Learn more.

Chinese scientists produce world's lightest material

Scientists at Zhejiang University in China have developed a new kind of ultra-light material called carbon aerogel. This solid material has a density of only 0.16 mg/cm3, one-sixth that of the air. It is now recognized as the new world's lightest material.

[Image: Zhejiang University]



The basic principle of developing aerogel is to remove solvent in the gel and retain the integrity. In the past, scientists usually used a sol-gel method and a template-oriented method. The former can synthesize aerogel on a large scale, but with poor controllability. The latter can generate ordered structures, but due to its reliance on the fine structure and dimensions of templates, mass production is not feasible.

Prof. Gao Chao's team explored a new method: freeze-drying. They freeze-dried solutions of carbon nanotubes and graphene to get a carbon sponge that can be arbitrarily adjusted in any shape. "With no need for templates, its size only depends on that of the container," he said. A bigger container can help produce the aerogel in a bigger size, even to thousands of cubic centimeters or larger."

The previous world record holder was graphite aerogel produced by German scientists in 2012 with a density of 0.18 mg/cm3.

Despite its fragile appearance, carbon aerogel is excellent in elasticity and can bounce back when compressed. Interestingly, it is also one of the materials with the largest oil absorption capacity. Current oil-absorbing products can usually absorb organic solvent of about 10 times their own weight. The newly developed carbon aerogel can absorb up to 900 times its own weight.

A related paper was published online in Advanced Materials on February 18, and was published in the "Research Highlights" column in Nature.

"Carbon aerogel is expected to play an important role in pollution control, such as oil-spill control, water purification, and even air purification," said Prof. Chao, who also added that the traditional production method of aerogels could not meet the needs of mass production. However, his freeze-drying approach makes the aerogel production process more convenient and makes it possible for mass production and application.

Chao's team is conducting further research on the absorption performance and application of the aerogel. In addition to pollution control, carbon aerogel is expected to become an ideal material for energy storage insulation, sound absorption, and as a catalytic carrier.

Source: Zhejiang University

Published July 2013

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