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3D printing

3D printing, also known as Additive Manufacturing, is one of the few innovations that has the potential to disrupt some of the traditional markets around us. With our specialty monomers and additives, we want to be part of this change.

3D printing allows for:

  • Shorter production cycles, limit stock, cut tooling costs
  • Personalised products
  • Complex geometries, design freedom

This technology is increasingly used in applications like:

  • Medical: dental parts, orthopaedic aids, printed tissue (wounds, medicine testing)
  • Transportation, construction: prototyping and small-volume metal parts
  • Sports: sporting goods, custom protective gear, personalised parts like shoes
  • Retail and education: toys, jewellery, games, creative design

Many materials can be 3D printed, such as polyamide, PLA, ABS, polyester, PU, polycarbonate, PEI, fibre reinforced materials, metal powders, ceramics, and even human tissues and food.

3D printing methods

There are many different methods of 3D printing: the most common are:

  • FDM – Fused Deposition Modelling: a plastic filament is extruded, applied via freely moveable nozzle, and layers fuse together during cooling
  • SLS – Selective Laser Sintering: a bed of powder material (up to 70 μm), part is melted (sintered) by laser heat, and layer by layer built up; remaining powder acts as supporting structure and will be later removed
  • SLA – Stereo Lithography Apparatus: a UV curable liquid resin (bath) polymerises where irradiated by laser; higher precision but requires post-processing to remove resin and supporting structures
  • MJP or MJM – Multi-Jet Printing or Modelling: a liquid resin is jetted from nozzle like inkjet printer while the platform moves under printer head
  • DMS – Direct Metal Sintering: this method uses metal powder; part is melted (sintered) by laser heat (requires high energy)

In case of polyamide for SLS powder the same product can be used as co-monomer to improve particle fusion.

Priplast polyols are used in polyurethanes to improve melt flow for inter-layer adhesion and smooth surfaces. Additionally, they impart water repellency to the material with increased flexibility, for a more durable product.

Last but not least we offer a wide range of dispersants for metal or ceramic powders.

Benefits of Croda products in 3D printing

Pripol dimer acid, Pripol dimer diol or Priplast polyester polyol can be used as co-monomer in polyamides, polyesters, and as polyol or chain extender in polyurethanes, showing the following benefits in use:

  • Lower crystallinity and slower crystallisation to reduce shrinkage
  • Improved melt flow for interlayer adhesion and smooth surface
  • Flexibility and toughness of the final part
  • Water repellency (of filaments for processing and of final part)
  • Good adhesion to potential fibre reinforcement
Search for Pripol & Priplast in the Product Finder
Would you like to further discuss 3D printing opportunities?