Toray Industries, Inc., announced today that it has devised a technique that makes it simple to produce micro-level spherical particles of polyamide having high melting points (polyamide 6, polyamide 66). It has been difficult to date to achieve true spheroidization with these synthetic polymers. This new technique could revolutionize 3D printing by enabling the production of practical parts that are high strength and heat-resistant.
Polyamide particles, many of which are non-spherical shape of low melting point polyamides (polyamide 12), are used as lubricants in cosmetics and as materials in powder-based 3D printing. In order to create high-quality 3D printed objects, truly spherical particles with outstanding fluidity and uniform fillability would be ideal. Especially, polyamide particles of high melting points would be vital for practical parts in view of their high strength and heat resistance. The drawback with conventional production techniques, however, has been the difficulty of creating truly spherical polyamide particles with the high melting points that needs handle with high-temperature conditions.
Spherical polyamide 6 particles
Toray therefore drew on the polyamide polymerization technology it accumulated in many years of R&D, and has created a new technique to produce truly spherical particles at the same time with the polyamide polymerization from monomer. As this technology enables the handle with high-temperature condition, not only polyamide 12 of low melting point polyamide but polyamide 6 and 66 of high melting point polyamide can be straightforwardly made into truly spherical particles as well. Moreover, this technique makes it possible to control average particle sizes between several microns through several hundred microns, and then uniformly sized particles can be also made.
3D printing of tests using newly developed polyamide 6 particles confirmed that molded objects offer outstanding heat resistance and high strength. Toray will continue to establish scale-up technique to apply it with automotive and other parts.
The company plans to showcase this technology at nano tech 2020, from January 29 through 31 at Tokyo Big Sight.