The science of 3D printing isn’t just a science, it’s an art. Three-dimensional printer filament is rife for experimentation; developing new materials for these innovative printing methodologies has become a competitive sector within the chemicals market.
The Importance of Materials for 3D Printing
The performance of 3D-printed materials is reliant on the materials they are made from. In particular, how well the materials adhere to one another directly impacts how durable and strong the end-product will be. High-performance materials are most notably being studied in fields such as aerospace and oil and gas. While there are many opportunities for the science, material limitations and ongoing compatibility issues still plague development.
Driving Innovation in Materials Science
Some scientists say that 3D printing presents a golden age for materials scientists. Point-in-fact, today’s 3D printing technology is being used by engineers, industrial facilities, and contractors to accelerate R&D, offer customization, and increase product flexibility. Here are some of the most notable materials and techniques being utilized within the space right now:
Selective Laser Sintering:
This technique produces incredibly durable plastic parts, primarily through the use of plastic powders such as polyamide. Results have a rougher surface than other laser sintering methods, but they are capable of withstanding much higher impact.
In this technique, photopolymers are combined with thermosetting resins then cured with UV light. This method creates excellent aesthetics as photopolymer materials are available in a range of colors and tensile strengths.
High-Strength Alloy Printing:
Still in the (very) early stages of its development, the science of 3D printing metal alloys holds a lot of promise for high-performance industries such as energy. To date, only a handful of studies have shown veracity in the method, one of which manufactured an alloy by laser-combining gas-atomized spherical powders coated with hydrogen-stabilized zirconium.
The most exciting area of 3D printing is also the most unknown. Materials such as ceramics and sandstone have been used successfully in one-off applications, as have wood and metalfill. For the most part, these materials are limited in one or more characteristics of strength or durability.
Forging New Paths in Materials Science
We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what 3D printing can do. From high-test applications in aerospace and even space travel to industrial integration within some of the most repetitive, high-impact processes in the world, 3D-printed parts are changing how the world does business. Forward-thinking businesses simply cannot afford to ignore the growing capabilities of 3D printing any longer.
The materials utilized by 3D printers are as essential to performance as the printers themselves. Noah Chemicals has long been a chemical partner to some of the foremost manufacturers and industrial suppliers in the country. Our clients understand the impact more precise chemicals have on their finished products, including those produced on 3D printers.
For more information on how Noah Chemicals can help supply your project with the chemical materials it needs to succeed, reach out to our in-house team of chemists today.