It can be overwhelming to consider the number of materials there are available for 3D printing, and new ones are constantly being developed. It’s not an easy or simple process to create a new 3D printing material, though, which is why materials that are prevalent elsewhere in manufacturing sometimes take some time to arrive in the 3D printing industry. Polyether block amide, or PEBA, is one of those materials. The flexible thermoplastic elastomer has numerous and varied manufacturing applications, but has rarely been seen in 3D printing. However, Evonik has now announced the development of a new PEBA powder for laser sintering, high speed sintering and binder jetting.
PEBA’s benefits include excellent mechanical and dynamic properties, including flexibility, impact resistance, energy return, and fatigue resistance. It is resistant to many chemicals and maintains its properties over a wide range of temperatures. It is used frequently for athletic shoe outsoles, in medical products such as catheters, and in electronics for products such as cable and wire coatings. PEBA can also be used to make textiles.
3D printed products made from Evonik’s new PEBA powder offer flexibility, chemical resistance and durability over a range of temperatures from -40°C to 90ºC. The powder is well-suited to the manufacture of functional high tech plastic parts, including both prototypes and series production components.
“Flexible polymer materials significantly expand the options for additive manufacturing because they allow us to realize new, demanding applications in attractive markets,” said Fabian Stoever, Senior Product Manager for Polymers at EOS. “In addition, the variety of materials not only enables us to produce individual high-tech functional components, but also to develop much more sophisticated 3D concepts that make use of the entire material range.”
The new PEBA powder was optimized for use in EOS laser sintering systems as part of a development collaboration between EOS and Evonik. It has already been successfully adopted into the material portfolios of several 3D printing service providers. EOS markets the powder under the name “PrimePart ST.”
“New innovative products that are developed in bespoke projects in close cooperation with our customers form an important cornerstone of our organic growth,” said Thomas Große-Puppendahl, Head of the Engineered Products Product Line at Evonik.
Evonik has been producing polymer powders for 3D printing for a while, and the development of PEBA further expands its materials porftolio. The company is a world leader in the production of polyamide 12 (PA 12) powders, which have been used in 3D printing for more than two decades. With help from EOS, Evonik will now introduce PEBA to the 3D printing world, opening up the door to a variety of new applications.
If you’d like to learn more about PEBA and other high performance 3D printing materials from Evonik in person, the company will be at Booth #4117 at the plastics processing trade fair Fakuma, which is taking place from October 16th to 20th in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
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