More and more large chemical companies are looking to 3D printing and especially 3D printable plastics as a way to both explore new areas of business and to explore more efficient and also ecologically compatible products and means of production. Since the market is potentially huge, but currently still very small, in order to do this, they generally form partnerships with players that have already established a presence in the 3D printing industry.
The partnership between DuPont‘s Packaging & Industrial Polymers division and taulman3D is one of these cases and, perhaps, the most relevant to date, as it marks the firs time one of the world’s “Big Three” chemical companies is recognizing the importance of 3D printing and willing to assign resources to develop both engineering and materials related to the technology. The first result of this partnership is the new T-Lyne.
DuPont selected taulman3D, one of the very first companies to develop nylon and nylon-hybrid filaments for the open source 3D printing industry, to help develop and move forward in releasing new materials. DuPont and taulman3D have been working together since summer 2015 on specifics of a flexible material that would be easily printed and adhere to almost any print bed, thus addressing one of the biggest issues in 3D printing with nylon.
Taulman3D revealed that more work has gone into testing and development of T-Lyne – which is based on DuPontTM Surlyn® ionomer – than any other material, except Alloy 910. Surlyn is a highly durable material which is currently used in golf ball and bowling pin coating to avoid deterioration, even in case of extreme abuse. Testing, conducted with the support of DuPont’s David D. Zhang, showed that T-Lyne prints easily on cold and warm (40° C) surfaces, such as clean glass, PEI, Ultem, Borosilicate glass, acrylic, BuildTak, GeckoTek, and more.
T-Lyne appears as a crystal clear polyethylene copolymer developed specifically for high durability, flexibility, unique viscosity and a wide temperature range. The glass-like transparency can be obtained by setting a high layer size using low speed and low temperatures in the range of 190° C to 210° C. Utility-style parts are easily printed faster at standard layer sizes, using higher temperatures up to 245° C, depending on nozzle size.
One of the material’s key features is impact resistance. Even a thin layer of 3D printed T-Lyne can take an enormous amount of impact. Another unique feature is T-Lyne’s thermal capabilities, which means that T-Lyne can have angles created with hot water or heat guns in a post-print phase, and deform the material smoothly. Once the print is cooled, the item maintains its new shape.
Most notably, DuPont Surlyn® in T-Lyne meets FDA 21CFR 177.1330(a) and can potentially be used in prosthetics. For example, an orthopedic support 3D printed using T-Lyne can be immersed into hot water in order to make minor adjustments, then cooled to maintain the desired adjustments, as if it were printed in final form. The clarity of T-Lyne allows medical personnel to see into, or through, a part, even with as many as 5-8 perimeter walls, and determine where adjustments may be needed.
This same clarity is used for non-destructive evaluation of any printed utility part, as internal adhesion is paramount. Also, T-Lyne has a surface that is not slippery, making hand tools made from T-Lyne unlikely to slip out of one’s hand. Materials evolution is rapidly adapting to the needs and capabilities of 3D printers, in a mutually beneficial relationship. As the really big guys get involved, technology and materials science is bound to go even faster and, while T-Lyne seems like a real problem solver for dozens of 3D printing applications, we are probably just at the very beginning of a long journey of discovery.
In the meantime, though, if you are among those who could envision an immediate use for T-Lyne in your line of 3D printing, here are the exact specs:
Thermal Nominal Values
Brittle Temperature not yet determined Melting Point (DSC) 183°F (84°C)
ASTM D3418 – ISO 3146
Vicat Softening Point (Rate B) 127°F (53°C) Freezing Point (DSC) 104°F (40°C)
Mechanical Nominal Values
ASTM D1525 – ISO 306 ASTM D3418
Abrasion Resistance 301NBS Index
Flexural Modulus (73 °F) 490MPa (71068psi) ASTM D790
Flexural Modulus (-4 °F) not yet determined ASTM D790
Ross Flex (-20 °F) not yet determined ASTM D1052
Tensile Elongation @ Break (73 °F) 320% ASTM D638 – ISO 527-2 Tensile Strength @ Break (73° F) 31MPa (4496psi) ASTM D638 – ISO 527-2 Tensile Strength @ Yield (Type IV bars,
compression molded, 5.0 cm/min, 73 °F)
18.6MPa (2698psi) ASTM D638
Impact Nominal Values
Notched Izod Impact (73 °F) not yet determined
Tensile Impact Strength (73 °F) 427ft-lb/in2
Tensile Impact Strength (-40 °F) not yet determined ASTM D1822
Hardness Nominal Values
Durometer Hardness (Shore D) 65
Optical Nominal Values
Haze (0.250 in) 1.3%
Elastomer Nominal Values
Tear Strength (73 °F) not yet determined
ASTM D2240 – ISO 868
Test Method ASTM D1003
Test Method ASTM D624