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Spherical polyamide particles could revolutionize 3D printing

Spherical polyamide particles could revolutionize 3D printing
Developer Toray Industries from Japan says true spheroidization at the micro level could enable the production of practical parts that are high strength and heat-resistant.

Toray Industries, Inc. has devised a technique that makes it simple to produce micro-level spherical particles of polyamide (PA 6 and 66) having high melting points. It has been difficult to date to achieve true spheroidization with these synthetic polymers. This new technique could revolutionize 3D printing by enabling the production of practical parts that are high strength and heat-resistant according to Toray.

Spherical polyamide 6 particles for 3D printing.

PA 12 powders, many of which are non-spherical in shape and exhibit low melting points, are used as 3D printing materials. In order to create high-quality 3D printed objects, truly spherical particles with outstanding fluidity and uniform fillability would be ideal. PA particles with high melting points are vital for practical parts in view of their high strength and heat resistance. The drawback of conventional production techniques, however, has been the difficulty of creating truly spherical polyamide particles with high melting points.

Toray, therefore, drew on its expertise in PA polymerization to create a new technique to produce truly spherical particles from the monomer. This technique makes it possible to control average particle sizes between several microns through several hundred microns, and uniformly sized particles can be also made.

3D printing tests using the newly developed PA 6 particles confirmed that they offer outstanding heat resistance and high strength. Toray will now work to establish scale-up technology in order to apply the process to automotive and other parts. The company plans to showcase this technology at nano tech 2020, from January 29 through 31 at Tokyo Big Sight.

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