Many 3D printing users know how important material properties are when it comes to a specific part application. A carbon filled polymer would not work well in a live hinge application, nor would a flexible polymer in any form where rigidity is needed, such as a drone mainframe. The point of this blog post is not to highlight what materials should be used in specific applications; The positions we are discussing are recent filament extrusion testing and a new material grade that has yet to be seen on the commercial market. We believe this new material grade could have some high applicability.
TPV is a new material that we extruded in our Filabot. TPV extruded very well compared to other TPE and TPU grades that we have tested. Like any polymer, we have worked with TPV is the shorthand abbreviation for “Thermoplastic Vulcanizates.” This grade of polymer is an alloy, utilizing the properties of vulcanized rubber, like car tires, and polypropylene (PP). Commercially this is called Santoprene and is produced by ExxonMobil. Its creation story was discovered by accident in a lab, just like sticky notes.
What makes TPV so special is that the material mimics rubber. Squishy and flexible, everything you would want. The rubber itself is a thermoset, once formed, it can only be mechanically broken down and recycled into new products. TPV is a part thermoplastic and part thermoset, meaning that this material can be melted in conventional extrusion, injection, and blow molding equipment.
While this material has produced high quality filament, we have yet to print with it. More to come on that. With FDM printing, there should be a high success rate as we have found that making filament is the harder step. Another new test we have to do is with our new MDPH2 FPF direct printing extruder; this will allow us to print large rubber-like objects.
What to learn more about TPV? Check out these links and videos from ExxonMobil
Want to have your material tested for filament extrusion or large format print-ability? Check out these links here:
What to make TPV filament? Get a filament extrusion setup here: