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Leveraging simulation and soluble support to 3D print semicrystalline thermoplastic polymers in cold chamber using filament fusion


Title: Leveraging simulation and soluble support to 3D print semicrystalline thermoplastic polymers in cold chamber using filament fusion

Authors: Christoph Strasser, Silvia Berretta, Olivier Lietaer, Robert McKay

DOI: 10.33599/nasampe/c.23.0148

Abstract: While support materials enable successful printing of highly complex geometries including overhang and bridge features, it is desirable that these support materials are more economical than the model material and are relatively simple to remove after printing. In the case of engineering applications requiring the use of high-performance polymers like PAEK (polyaryl ether ketones), self-support or breakaway support is costly and laborious to remove. It is difficult to find a soluble support that retains the stiffness required to hold up the part at the temperatures needed to print these high-performance polymers. A practical solution is to print the part in a relatively cold chamber that is compatible with available support materials. In this build strategy, the PAEK part is printed amorphous, then subsequently annealed to semi-crystalline, introducing additional shrink and warp during the annealing phase. In this study, leaders in digital reality solutions Hexagon, soluble support provider Xioneer and PAEK polymer maker Victrex collaborated to print high temperature semi-crystalline polymers right the first time thanks to predictive simulation tools. Their approach presents multiple advantages: 1) thanks to its slow crystallization speed, VICTREX AM™ 200 filaments can be printed amorphous without compromising the mechanical performance of the final part, especially z strength; 2) Xioneer’s VXL 111 or VXL 130 soluble support material offer a strong adhesion to bed and model and a good thermal stability and 3) Hexagon’s Digimat-AM simulation software predicts geometrical distortion due to crystallization shrinkage during annealing and allows to modify the original design of the geometry to counter balance distortion. In this case study, two material models (Xioneer’s VXL 111 or VXL 130 soluble support material and VICTREX AM™ 200 polymer) have been developed to simulate the part shrink and warp associated to the printing process and subsequent annealing. The simulation is applied to two geometries, an overhang T-shaped structure and a bridge structure. This approach allows the use the filament fusion for complex geometries for amorphous printing of semicrystalline polymers without an expensive and laborious trial and error approach.

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Conference: CAMX 2023

Publication Date: 2023/10/30

SKU: TP23-0000000148

Pages: 15

Price: $30.00

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