Thermoplastics Enhancement: Challenges and Innovative Solutions

In the realm of additive manufacturing, Due Pi Greco stands out for its expertise in creating components through 3D printing using Ultra, High, and Engineering grade polymers, including composites on Stratasys Fortus series industrial systems.

Comparison between Glass Fiber and Carbon Fiber in Composite Materials


Enhancing thermoplastics is a central goal in overcoming the limitations of standard plastics. Due Pi Greco employs a variety of techniques to optimize the properties of composite materials, including the use of glass and carbon fibers.

Glass Fiber: Rigidity and Thermal Resistance

Glass fiber is used as a filler in polyamides to improve rigidity and prevent deformations. This filler provides a stiffer and more resistant structure to extreme thermal conditions, although it introduces a fragile behavior to the component.

Carbon Fiber: Lightweight and Conductivity

Carbon fiber, on the other hand, increases torsional rigidity without compromising the structure, significantly lightening it. Additionally, it enhances electrical and thermal conductivity, offering an additional advantage.


Requirements for the Use of Enhanced Materials

The use of both materials requires appropriate industrial machinery, with dedicated nozzles and in a heated chamber, close to the glass transition temperature, and a controlled cooling ramp at the end of the process.

Printing and Post-Printing: Optimal Temperatures

During printing, we maintain a temperature of 125°C to ensure the best possible isotropy and uniform interlayer migration of microfibers. At the end of printing, the controlled cooling ramp is brought down to 80°C to prevent deformations and residual stresses.

Thermoplastics, with their appealing characteristics such as lightweight, cost-effectiveness, ease of processing, and design freedom, have found applications in various sectors. However, untreated plastics have limitations, and to expand their applicability, it is necessary to enhance their properties.


The Challenge of Enhancement

Despite their flexibility, standard thermoplastics face limitations in demanding environments. Basic plastics, although advanced in materials, often prove unsuitable for applications requiring high mechanical strength, UV resistance, and electrical conductivity. Their vulnerability to chemical degradation and combustion is an additional constraint.

Strategies for Performance Enhancement

1. Mechanical Reinforcement with Fillers

Introducing fillers such as glass, carbon, or graphite fibers is crucial to improve the robustness and functional properties of thermoplastics. These fillers are mechanically incorporated into the polymer matrix, imparting superior properties, including rigidity, impact resistance, and conductivity.

To guarantee a uniform distribution of fillers, it is essential to use additives that facilitate the compatibility between inorganic fillers and organic plastic molds.

2. UV Stabilization for Atmospheric Resistance

UV stabilizers, composed of organic molecules designed to absorb and dissipate ultraviolet radiation, are essential to protect thermoplastics from premature aging caused by sunlight exposure. These stabilizers preserve the aesthetics and functional performance of the material.

3. Antioxidants to Counter Oxidation

Antioxidants play a crucial role in countering the auto-oxidation process that occurs during processing and use at high temperatures. These additives prevent the formation of free radicals, preserving the quality and longevity of thermoplastics over time.

4. Flame Retardants for Fire Resistance

Adding flame retardants is essential to improve the fire resistance of plastics, paving the way for new applications in sectors where fire safety is paramount. Sustainable options, such as phosphorus-based and metallic hydroxide flame retardants, are progressively replacing traditional halogen-based solutions.

5. Enhancement of Electrical Properties to Avoid Electrostatic Discharges

Le industrie elettroniche richiedono termoplastici con proprietà antistatiche per prevenire danni a componenti costosi causati da scariche elettrostatiche. Gli additivi antistatici, incorporati durante la lavorazione, creano un percorso conduttivo nel materiale, permettendo la rapida dissipazione delle cariche elettrostatiche.

Advanced Applications of Enhanced Thermoplastics

The use of enhanced thermoplastics finds applications in demanding sectors such as automotive and aerospace, where advanced materials reinforced with carbon and graphite fibers offer lightweight and strength.


In conclusion

The enhancement of thermoplastics emerges as a key strategy to overcome the intrinsic limitations of standard plastics, opening up new opportunities in various industrial sectors. The use of tailor-made additives allows addressing specific challenges and meeting diverse needs, positioning thermoplastics as versatile and high-performing materials.
Here at Due Pi Greco we have the technologies and the knowledge to make this jump ahead towards the future of 3d printing and additive manufacturing.