If we want to briefly summarise what we are dealing with, the simplest descriptions is: we are producing composite filaments. But what does the term composite mean? We will explore this in our blog post.
To understand the concept of composite, let’s see the bigger picture. In our everyday life we are surrounded by many different materials. If you have not studied materials science in depth, it may surprise you to learn that all types of solids can be grouped into a triple category. According to their composition and structure, any solid is ceramic, polymeric (plastic) or metallic.
So called pure materials are rarely found in the world around us, and usually, the materials we know and use are a mixture of these pure materials.
- When you mix metal with metal, you get an alloy
- Polymer-polymer combinations are called mixtures
- Ceramics, with some very rare exceptions, are not presented in pure form and therefore, there is no special term for their mixtures.
Of course, you can also mix the materials of the three big groups above, and then you get composites! What they are in common is that in these composites the constituent parts are always well separated from each other, forming distinct parts.
According to their components, composites can be:
- Ceramic – metal (e.g., reinforced concrete)
- Ceramic – polymer (e.g., glass fiber reinforced plastics)
- Metal – polymer (e.g., resins mixed with metal powder)
In addition to their composition, an important characteristic also the form in which the composite material is presented in the majority matrix material.
Today, the development of composite materials is happening in leaps and bounds. New materials are being developed every day that improve one property of the original matrix while retaining the other beneficial properties. Our company has chosen to follow this way: expanding the choice of materials that can be used in 3D printing by producing composites.
With the development of Filaticum Technical filaments, we aim to exploit the potential of composites: using PLA matrix as a base, we create special filaments for different industries and applications, and provide unique solutions for specific needs.
We are doing all this without compromising the favorable printing properties of PLA.
If we follow the above classifications, Filament Technical filaments basically are ceramic – polymer composites. Glass fiber (e.g. Filaticum Engineering), carbon powder and carbon fiber (Filaticum ESD and Conductive), gypsum (Filaticum Essence, Model and Gypsum) and other materials are incorporated into the polymer matrix.
These filaments will be heat resistant or impact resistant, it will be easy to post-process them, while their easy-to-print feature retains.
The composite materials are therefore typically in a granular or fibrous form in our filaments. In case of filaments, this is important because this ensures easy printability. In this blog post (link), we show on microscopic images the position of gypsum in PLA.
With composites, the range of 3D printing materials are rapidly expanding. And PLA as a raw material contributes to the sustainable development of the industry.