Evonik introduces first flexible PEBA-based powder for 3D printing

The new synthetic polymer powder is compatible with SLS, HSS and binder jetting processes

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German chemical company Evonik has developed a new PEBA polymer powder for additive manufacturing. The material, notable for its high elasticity and strength, is compatible with a range of powder-based AM processes, including laser sintering (LS), high speed sintering (HSS) and binder jetting.

The new powder is composed of Polyether block amide (PEBA), a thermoplastic elastomer with good resistance, strength and durability. Parts 3D printed using Evonik’s new powder reportedly demonstrate good flexibility, excellent chemical-resistance and durability from -40°C to 90°C. Evonik says its new AM powder is well suited for producing functional plastic prototypes and series production parts.

In developing its PEBA powder, Evonik worked closely with German 3D printer manufacturer EOS to optimize the synthetic material for its laser sintering systems. The two companies have collaborated extensively and EOS is currently marketing the PEBA-based powder under the product name PrimePart ST. The material, Evonik adds, has already been adopted by a number of service providers.

“Flexible polymer materials significantly expand the options for additive manufacturing because they allow us to realize new, demanding applications in attractive markets,” commented Fabian Stoever, senior product manager for polymers at EOS. “In addition, the variety of materials not only enables us to produce individual high-tech functional components, but also to develop much more sophisticated 3D concepts that make use of the entire material range.”

PEBA-based powder

“New innovative products that are developed in bespoke projects in close cooperation with our customers form an important cornerstone of our organic growth,” said Thomas Große-Puppendahl, head of the Engineered Products Product Line at Evonik.

Interestingly, though the elastic material is compatible with most powder-based 3D printing technologies, including selective laser sintering, HSS and binder jetting, one powder-based AM technology has remained conspicuously absent from the list: HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF). Currently, the only approved material for HP’s 3D printing platform is PA12, though the company has launched an open Materials Development Kit for qualifying polymer powders for its platform. As Evonik is a partner of HP’s MDK, perhaps the new PEBA-based powder is still undergoing qualification.

Turning back to Evonik, its new PEBA-based powder is the latest addition to a growing portfolio of synthetic materials for 3D printing applications. The company, especially known for its polyamide 12 powders, produces all of its powder materials at its facility at Marl Chemical Park.

Evonik will be presenting its range of high-performance polymers at the upcoming FAKUMA show in Friedrichshafen, Germany from October 16 to 20.

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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