Aug 11, 2016 | By Tess

Haydale Graphene Industries plc, a UK based graphene and nanomaterials manufacturer, has just announced it will be launching a new line of graphene enhanced PLA filaments through its subsidiary, Haydale Composite Solutions (HCS). The new 3D printing materials will officially be launched at the additive manufacturing TCT Show in Birmingham on September 28th and 29th, 2016.

Graphene, an atomic scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms, is being heralded as one of the most promising new 3D printing materials. The material, which offers a number of advantages over regular PLA, could help bring FDM 3D printing technology to a whole new level, and to move the technology beyond simply prototyping.

As mentioned, HCS’s graphene enhanced PLA filaments offer a number of benefits over traditional PLA materials, which were determined by a number of 3D printing companies and experts who tested samples of the filament. According to said companies, the graphene enhanced material demonstrated a benefits while printing, such as excellent first layer adhesions and z axis strength retention, as well as a significant increase in the processing speed of the print.

The quality of the actual prints is notable as well, as they were reportedly stronger and stiffer, showcased a better impact performance, a higher print quality and surface finish, as well as a significantly improved dimensional accuracy. The filament, which will be available in both 1.75mm and 2.85mm diameters is also compatible with a wide range of FDM 3D printers and is extremely versatile.

Gerry Boyce, Managing Director of HCS said of the new product: “We are very excited about the development of graphene enhanced thermoplastic materials for 3D printing. These new materials offer so many benefits including the ability to make parts stiffer, stronger and faster! Speed of print has historically been a barrier to wide scale take up of 3D printing. In the future, the thought of making structural components direct from CAD excites us enormously.”

In the development and marketing of the graphene enhanced 3D printing filament, HCS has collaborated with Filamentprint (UK), which specializes in the manufacturing of thermoplastic filaments, and Fullerex, HGI’s saled agent for its nanomaterials. According to a press release, HCS and Filamentprint (UK) are also currently working on developing a range of graphene enhanced thermoplastics including ABS, Nylon, and Polypropylene materials. There is no word on when these might become available.

For those eager to test out the new graphene enhanced PLA, however, the three companies will be presenting it at the TCT Show, where products made from the material will be showcased and you’ll be able to see the filament in action being printed. While no prices have been unveiled as of yet, they will reportedly be listed at the trade show.

“Significant improvements in conventional materials are needed to move FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling} 3D printers beyond making prototypes or display models and into a capable technology for rapidly manufacturing mechanically robust, functional parts,” said Joe Eldrige, Director of Fullerex Ltd. “Haydale’s ability to engineer graphene to properly exploit its desirable properties has been a vital prerequisite to bridge this gap. This filament is easy to use and has broad compatibility, so is an exciting option regardless of whether you are a hobbyist or an industrial manufacturer.”



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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rhundt wrote at 9/20/2016 8:23:07 PM:

I've been following nano-composite research for a while now and it shows that the nano-filler interleaves itself in the polymer matrix and this can yield dramatically superior mechanical properties with a very small amount (5-15%) nano-filler (and not only graphene, but halloysite clay nanotubes as well, has shown promising results). After a certain concentration, though, the properties deteriorate, so I'm hoping that this material has been optimised accordingly and not saturated with graphene.

Paul Thorman wrote at 8/18/2016 7:24:44 PM:

Now the next step is to use Graphene made from Hemp. Then we can make Hemp/Graphene Solar Cells and Solar Panels. Thanks Paul Thorman Triangle Tiny House.

Joe Eldridge - Fullerex wrote at 8/15/2016 5:50:57 PM:

@Aniljimji, many thanks for your comments. I am one of the people that worked on this filament. Although the filament has not been made available commercially yet for retail clients, it's always good to hear consumer impressions prior to launching. I'm sorry your experience with other enhanced filaments has been lacking. This is one of the reasons we've been working so hard to develop this product! It's important to note that the Haydale filament has been designed to enhance mechanicals, among other things. Comparing your expected performance of this material (which we have tangible data on the improvements of) to the performance of a filament made by another company with another material designed for another purpose (electrical) is comparing apples to oranges. Gerry Boyce is completely correct in his statement. Graphene is a lubricant and highly thermally conductive. These properties have been shown in numerous tests with industrial partners to improve the flow rate and print speed. The filament heats up more quickly and extrudes more quickly due to the addition of graphene, which means faster throughput. The reduced shrinkage (i.e. dimensional stability) caused by the reinforcement of graphene sheets, strength retention and surface finish of the prints are what is meant by saying the print quality is improved - printed parts are a close match to the CAD data, are mechanically robust, thermally stable and they look good. This filament has also been shown to have a higher thermal stability that ABS, PETG and even PC, meaning that it retains it's shape and properties at a wider temperature range. In all the printing data collected (quite a few km of filament has been printed), no nozzle damage has been reported. I agree that you should save your money for products that work. That's why I invite you to grab a free sample reel at the TCT show next month. We're happy to discuss the product in detail with you and you'll be able to test it out yourself! @JimthePieDuke, to clarify, z-axis weakness is an issue with FDM printing as interlayer adhesion is not as strong as in plane strength. Graphene helps to reduce this issue. The material certainly is enhanced in the X-Y direction as you would expect, so it doesn't 'only' enhance z-axis.

JimthePieDuke wrote at 8/14/2016 2:51:09 PM:

@RobinLeech, what are you harping on about? How does adding graphene (coal dust) enhance any of the properties that you mention? This is just a big pile of baloney. It is the polymer matrix which IS most important to these factors. Why does it only strengthen only the z axis and not the y or x axis. When you boil down to it, without the test data to prove these claims then it is all just meaningless. It is the same thing like me saying, come around to my farm and see my herd of invisible cows.

Barrythewhite wrote at 8/14/2016 1:21:46 PM:

The problem is that these nanoparticles that they place into PLA are potentially carcinogens, also PLA breaks down and biodegrades overtime so this is potentially a toxic mix and the worst bad idea in the long and tragic history of bad ideas. I will not be buying.

RobinLeech wrote at 8/14/2016 1:25:32 AM:

For one, if you notice, the gain in strength is along the Z axis, presumably because graphene is 2D. So if you expect it to be stronger along the Y axis than the same plastic without graphene, you'll certainly be disappointed. After all, it's still plastic. Strengthening the material along the Z axis makes them stiffer and stronger(enhanced quality). Even if all they did was reduce errors and failed prints with better 1st layer adhesion, it's faster. Maybe it will be hard on the nozzle, but if used and applied appropriately, even modest improvements could make it worth the trouble. That's the point. So unless everyone hears a sales pitch and has unrealistic expectations I think it's likely just you.

kb wrote at 8/12/2016 11:58:25 PM:

@Aniljimji You confirm my feelings! They just sprinkle some high end popular material in their plastic to sell it 10 times the original price. They would publish proper datasheets with normalized test results if their materials really had good properties.

Aniljimji wrote at 8/11/2016 10:15:53 PM:

Is it just me or what really is the point? These polymers are always disappointing in the end. I have bought lots of different supposedly enhanced 3DP filaments over the past year, including the Conductive Graphene Filament by Graphene 3D Lab and there is no significant difference in strength or quality. This guy Gerry Boyce obviously knows very little about 3D printing, how does adding graphene make 3D printing faster or enhance the print quality exactly? This is absolute rubbish. Save your money and stick to conventional cheap PLA, it won’t destroy your 3D printer nozzle too.

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