Raise3D, the leading manufacturer of industrial-grade 3D printers, has experimented flammability of various types of 3D printing filaments. Polymaker’s PolyMax™ PC-FR, as a popular flame retardant filament, has shown a good result in this test. This experiment aims to compare the real performance of six filaments in the fixed settings then offer practical suggestions for 3D printing customers in material selection.
Figure （1）Test Board
Driven by the idea of providing accurate testing results, the technical engineer of Raise3D decided to imitate the testing standard of UL 94 guidelines, which is the recognized standard specific for plastic material flammability. This guideline tends to measure the material’s tendency to either extinguish or spread the flame once the specimen has been ignited.
In this test, the engineer prepared all sets of elements to make sure the test was conducted properly. Besides, the engineer records the specimen’s condition after burning, including the material deformation and smog emission.
The testing specimen in this experiment is divided into six kinds of material categories, namely, PLA, ABS, FR ABS, Carbon fiber ABS, PC-FR, Carbon fiber nylon. Each specimen has gone through the above testing procedures and performs its flame retardant properties in the flaming process.
During the test, regular PLA bents in the flaming process and is not inclined to extinguish within several seconds. Thus, as suggested, those parts composed of PLA are not suitable to use in high-temperature conditions（up to 60 degrees Celsius ）in case of burning or destroying the exterior environment.
While in the test of three types of ABS-based materials, each of them has shown a distinctive performance difference. Regular ABS produced a large amount of smog in the burning process. The addition of carbon fiber has stimulated the specimen extinguishment, but it’s not as effective as FR ABS. The flame retardant ABS doesn’t have a long burning time, but it indeed emits a large volume of smog in the burning process while leaving a number of black residues on the testing pieces.
Nylon filament should handle with care. It is worth noting that even carbon fiber elements do make the part of extinguishing faster than regular PLA, ABS. It cannot compensate for the drawback of Nylon material dripping. The dipping flaming particles might ignite dry absorbent cotton and bear the risk of burning the place. At the time, the Nylon material ignited above the mass pile of things, which may lead to a fire hazard potential.
During the test, Polymaker PolyMax™ PC-FR shows by far outperform the standard materials on the time it takes to extinguish. This material almost extinguishes immediately. The burning stops within 10 seconds and it doesn’t produce any drip of particles in the flaming process. Therefore, it is an ideal filament for prints that are used in a flame-warm environment.
PolyMax™ PC-FR is Polymaker’s approach to flame-retardant materials development. It is able to reduce the intensity of fire or slow/stop the fire spread. Featured by the 10 seconds burning time length, this filament conforms to the V-0 level (the highest grading) in plastics flammability standard. It also performs excellent toughness, strength, and heat resistance in a laboratory test. Benefited from these properties, PC-FR covers a wide range of applications from everyday use to industrial purposes.
This material is an ideal choice for any kind of electric housing, be there for battery boxes or lamp holders are all needed in real life. Due to its mechanical capabilities, PC-FR serves as a reliable tool for automotive, railway, and aerospace industry manufacturers.
Thanks to the 3D printer partner, de facto cutting-edge brand Raise3D, for bringing us the case study of 3D printing technology application in flame retardant materials. Polymaker is also actively working with partners to explore the application of 3D printing technology in various industries, to create more practical results for the entire 3D printing industry in their respective fields.