Material characteristics control made easy

Louise Smyth

Thermoplastics are often described as being either “crystalline” or “amorphous”. Due to thermodynamic restrictions against conformation of molecular chain in polymeric materials, thermoplastics hardly ever attain 100% crystallinity; thus rather they can be classified as semi-crystalline materials.

Most of the mechanical, physical and thermodynamic properties of semi-crystalline polymers depend on the degree of crystallinity and morphology of the crystalline regions. A typical attribute is that the higher the degree of crystallinity in thermoplastics, the higher is its heat resistance, its dimensional stability as well as its stiffness, but the lower is its creep resistance. The reverse is of course the case should the degree of crystallinity be decreased, hence giving rise to shrinkage effects as the temperature of the thermoplastic is brought below the melting point.

These are experimentally proven effects, thus it can be argued that under appreciably controlled thermo-mechanical conditions, thermoplastic can be made to exhibit different degrees of crystallinity where the amorphous regions generally exercise properties different from the crystalline regions.

Apium, a Materials Extrusion 3D printer manufacturer based in Germany, has developed its P-series 3D Printers based on its years of experience with PEEK and other high- performance polymeric materials. This generation of Apium machines provide users with the opportunity of easily conducting “science” whilst having control of the materials processing parameters.

The P-series machines are equipped with Apium Adaptive Heating System – a critical aspect of Apium’s technology – and have been specially designed for printing Carbon Fibre Reinforced PEEK, neat PEEK, high performance polymers, advanced engineering polymers, commodity polymers and filled thermoplastic based materials.

The P-series machine brings along a unique level of attraction for scientists and engineers interested in how to endow fabricated components with properties that provide better performance under applications scenarios. The printers bring to bear the chance of cleverly fabricating parts designed with greater precision knowing that materials creation during the printing process can be influenced at the Voxel level by adjusting process parameters and allowing for sought properties at precise locations on
the part.

Recent Issues