Materials

Polymaker and Covestro launch three polycarbonate-based filaments for 3D printing

Chinese 3D printing materials company Polymaker has announced the launch of three new polycarbonate (PC)-based materials for 3D printing. Each of the materials have been developed in collaboration with Covestro, a German manufacturer of high-performance polymers, and are designed to contain specific properties for use in a variety of industries, like automotive, aerospace and electronics.

Using formulations already well known to industry professionals, PC-ABS, PC-FR and PC-PBT, the plan is to optimize the recipes for 3D printing and bring them to market. 

The three new materials from Polymaker and Covestro. Photo via Polymaker.
The three new materials from Polymaker and Covestro. Photo via Polymaker.

Optimizing Covestro polycarbonate materials for 3D printing

Polymaker PC-ABS is a highly processable material, blending together polycarbonate and ABS properties, and using Covestro’s Bayblend formula as the base material. The polycarbonate content gives the end material a boost in heat resistance and toughness, whereas the ABS improves impact resistance and flow characteristics. Bayblend from Covestro is a line of polycarbonate plastic materials commonly used in the automotive industry, and will therefore help familiarize the Polymaker PC-ABS material to automotive engineers. 

Polymaker PC-PBT was created using Covestro’s Makroblend family of polycarbonate materials, which are catered towards providing high chemical resistance, enabled by the properties of PBT. Polymaker PC-PBT is suited towards use in the electronics industry as a shield or housing material, as it performs well in extreme environments, whether in contact with chemicals or operating at low temperatures. Reportedly, PC-PBT is able to operate in temperatures as low as -30°C, whilst maintaining 70 percent of its mechanical properties. It is resistant to a list of chemicals, including hydrocarbons, alcohols, organic acids, inorganic aqueous salts & mild base and acid solutions. 

The main feature of the third material, the PolyMax PC-FR, lies in its flame retardant properties. It is designed for use in high heat applications where material compliance is critical, having achieved a V-0 rating on the UL 94 plastics flammability standard test. V-0 means that the material was able to stop burning after 10 seconds, within the conditions of the test. PolyMax PC-FR uses Covestro’s Makrolon blend, a high performance plastic applied in electronic motorbikes, aerospace spare parts, and automotive production. Polymaker has also integrated the nano reinforcement technology of its Polymax material line to boost the fracture toughness of the flame-retardant filament, allowing it to perform in demanding applications. 

A fixture made using Polymaker PC-ABS material. Photo via Polymaker.
A fixture made using Polymaker PC-ABS material. Photo via Polymaker.

Polymaker and Covestro

Polymaker and Covestro have a longstanding partnership, having helped each other to produce a number of materials over the years. Polymaker’s PC-Max filament, introduced in 2016, was developed with Covestro’s raw polycarbonate resins. The three new PC filaments also use Covestro’s polycarbonate plastic resins as their base materials. 

Furthermore, In December 2017, Polymaker launched the U1000 and U0174D materials for FFF 3D printing using Covestro’s thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) resins. 

The two companies have also launched a website designed to aid the use of polycarbonate in 3D printing. It offers useful information on 3D printing with polycarbonates – from material options to printing conditions. 

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Featured image shows the PolyMax PC-FR being tested. Photo via Polymaker.

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