S. Baniya, S. Beckford
Keywords: hydrophobic, 3D printing, FDM, fused deposition modeling, filament
Summary:The 3D printer industry has grown substantially in the past decade. The innovation of printers has surpassed expectations with revolutionary designs like cooperative printing and stereolithography. However, the development of filaments hasn’t been as successful. Based on Wohler’s report 2017, over 50 percent of 3D printer users are using 3D printers solely for the purposes of prototyping. SurfTec is developing a brand-new hydrophobic filament for fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers. The filament has a water contact angle of 118 degrees. Thus, it can be implemented in an array of applications, including plastic joints used for steel tubing. Whenever these joints accumulate water, the steel tubing connected to the joint becomes prone to corrosion. Using SurfTec’s filament to 3D print this joint will prevent water accumulation. This is just one of the many applications for which hydrophobic filament can be utilized. Yet, the hydrophobic filaments available in the market exhibit weak mechanical properties. SurfTec’s filament, on the other hand, shows superior mechanical properties compared to commercial hydrophobic filaments. This filament has improved tensile strength as well as improved modulus of elasticity and compressive strength in comparison to hydrophobic filaments available on the market. The idea of additive manufacturing replacing injection molding soon isn’t too farfetched. SurfTec’s FMD filament proves that 3D printing can be used for more than just prototyping; this is not only the future of additive manufacturing but the future of manufacturing in general. Using SurfTec’s FDM filament as an alternative to injection molding will eliminate high operation costs of injection molding and reduce waste.