Multi award winning 3D printer OEM Markforged has announced the availability of its new Onyx FR 3D printing nylon, a flame-retardant composite material designed to be used in the aerospace, automotive, and defense industries. The key property of the Onyx FR lies in its self-extinguishing capabilities, allowing it prevent itself from burning, which sets it apart from traditional 3D printing thermoplastics.
As well as fire-resistant, the Onyx FR also offers users similar mechanical properties to Markforged’s Onyx filament, with high strength and a high-quality print and surface finish.
Jon Reilly, VP of Product at Markforged, comments “Onyx FR opens up more applications for 3D printing across automotive, aerospace, and defense industries because it meets higher fire safety standards.”
“When these parts are reinforced with strands of continuous carbon fiber, they are as strong as aircraft-grade aluminum at half the weight.”
Self-extinguishing fire within 10 seconds
The new Onyx FR nylon thermoplastic from Markforged was tested under the UL94 standard for plastics flammability. Validated in a third-party UL-certified lab at a thickness of 3mm, the Onyx FR achieved a UL94 rating of V-0 on the flammability test, one of the higher classifications in the standard. This means that, after it was ignited, the material was able to stop burning within 10 seconds by itself.
To demonstrate its fire-resistant properties, Markforged has provided a video where the Onyx PR material can be seen withstanding the direct flame of a laboratory burner, in comparison to the regular Onyx that catches fire, which you can watch below.
The Onyx FR and Onyx have similar flexural strength, as they are both made from chopped carbon fiber-filled nylon. The Onyx FR maintains a rating of 79 megapascals (MPa) as opposed to the standard Onyx’s 81 MPa when tested using a method similar to ASTM D970, the standard for flexural properties. Its self-extinguishing capabilities combined with its mechanical properties makes the Onyx FR suited for applications where flame retardancy, light weight and strength are required.
Markforged’s Onyx FR is available to use on its industrial series of large-format printers for composite 3D printing, which includes the X3, X5, and X7 systems. It will also be available on the company’s Eiger software platform, which allows users to design, select a material for, and print a part from a web browser using cloud-based collaboration.
Continuous progression for Markforged
The release of the new material from Markforged comes amidst the company’s ongoing expansion plans. Recently, the OEM had closed a Series D funding round with a value of $82 million in March 2019, with venture firms and investment specialists from Porsche, Microsoft and Siemens contributing. Markforged said it would use the funding to “help accelerate its product roadmap”, with plans to introduce 3D printers for mass production and new materials, like the Onyx FR.
As well as the release of new products, the company has also used the funding to open its first office outside of the U.S. located in Dublin, Ireland. This new site will serve as Markforged’s European headquarters, and its establishment was supported by the state-run foreign direct investment attraction agency IDA Ireland.
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Featured image is a video showing Markforged setting fire to the Onyx FR and Onyx materials. Video via Markforged.