Arkema emphasises 3D printing in its materials research agenda

Layer-by-layer fabrication has long been used for industrial prototyping, but a boom in lower-cost, desktop 3D printers is broadening its appeal and materials suppliers are responding as markets for these versatile tools expand.

Polymer pellets. Image credit: Arkema.

Polymer pellets. Image credit: Arkema.

This week, Arkema – whose company history goes back to a reorganization of Total’s intermediate chemicals group in 2004 – announced that it is adding 3D printing as a 6th ‘innovation driver’ for its international research and development (R&D) operation. ‘Materials for 3D printing’ joins existing R&D programmes in ‘lighter materials’, ‘renewable raw materials’, ‘materials for energy’, ‘water treatment solutions’ and ‘materials for electronics’.

Arkema offers polymers for laser sintering as well as UV-curable resins, and is developing formulations that can be used to make extremely tough 3D-printed products. But it’s not just the big firms that are busy innovating and ramping up the range of materials available to the growing 3D printing community. Materials start-ups and university labs are also participating in the translation of novel feedstock.

In fact, a web-search reveals a curious array of 3D printable materials, which includes coffee (3Dom USA), coconut (Formfutura), seaweed (University of Wollongong) and graphene (Black Magic 3D).

Related stories on TMR+
Materials and equipment upgrades add to 3D printing’s appeal

Related articles in the journal Translational Materials Research (TMR)
What can 2D materials learn from 3D printing? (Andrew Haughian 2015 Transl. Mater. Res. 2 020201)

Related stories on the web
A*STAR’s IMRE invents highly conducive material for 3D-printing of circuits
Oxford Performance Materials launches 3D printing technology for aerospace and industrial applications


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