Flame retardant properties in materials are important in some 3D printing applications, such as 3D printed electronics (think of wires and cables, coated in flame-retardant plastic), 3d printed parts in the transportation sector (trains, airplanes, and cars), but also in the construction industry for the use of 3D printed parts in houses, offices and public buildings. Flame retardant materials reduce – unlike flame-resistant material which resists burning and withstand heat – ignition, or burning. Flame retardant materials help prevent fires or at least limit their spread, giving workers, consumers, and passengers valuable time to ensure their safety. Often the use of flame-retardant materials is mandatory, in order to comply with safety standards used in the above-mentioned industries. I have found some nice examples of 3D parts made with flame-retardant materials.
Cubicure, an Austrian company dealing with the additive manufacturing of high-performance polymers for industrial applications, developed what they claim to be the first flame-retardant material for SLA 3D printing, known as Evolution FR (also top image). Having achieved the V0-classification in the UL94 protocol, which evaluates the flammability of polymers, the Evolution FR material can thus be used to manufacture key electronics components like plugs, connectors, and clamps. The UL94 standard specifically tests the burning time as well as the dripping of burning parts or formation of burning drops in a material. A V0 rating certifies that the material is able to stop burning within 10 seconds on a vertically held sample, with no inflamed drops.
Royal DSM, a Dutch chemical company, developed a flame-retardant polyamide (PA) filament material, Novamid AM1030 FR, a UL Blue Card-certified filament for open systems. The flame retardant material is certified as V0 (burning stops within 10 seconds on a vertical specimen) at 1.6 and 3.2 mm and V2 (burning stops within 30 seconds on a vertical specimen) at 0.85mm. The company believes the material’s level of flame retardancy makes the material suitable for application in the automotive and electronics sectors, such as for a 3D printed housing for a lamp. This business of DSM was acquired by Covestro.
Another flame retardant material comes from Markforged, Onyx FR 3D printing nylon, a flame-retardant composite material designed to be used in the aerospace, automotive, and defense industries. The key property of the Onyx FR lies in its self-extinguishing capabilities, allowing it to prevent itself from burning.
The last example of a flame retardant material is from German chemical company Lehmann&Voss&Co, called LUVOCOM 3F PAHT KK 50056 BK FR. It also achieved the UL-94 Vo protocol, used on an Ultimaker S5 system and CC 0.6 print core. The flame-retardant polyamide is suitable for the electrical and electronic market also thanks to its electrical insulation properties.
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