Comparable Carbon Materials for Common Thermoplastics
Carbon offers comparable materials to traditional thermoplastics used in manufacturing. If you’re not familiar with Carbon resins, you may not know where to start in finding a material that will work for your project. The comparison table pairs familiar thermoplastics with Carbon (or Carbon-certified) materials that have equivalent mechanical properties. The best material for your project will depend on which thermoplastic properties are most important in your application. Read on for a breakdown of which resin has the thermoplastic properties most important for your application needs.
ABS (used in Absylux®, Cycolac®, Polystone®, Lustran®, Royalite®, and TECARAN™) is a tough, rigid material with moderate temperature and chemical resistance. In short, it is a workhorse used for everything from electronics enclosures to automotive trim. Carbon offers two materials comparable to ABS. If impact toughness and temperature resistance are crucial, RPU 130 offers comparable performance but is a slightly softer material. If rigidity and ease of printing are most important, RPU 70 or UMA 90 are better choices.
Polyamides (used in nylons, Zytel®, Vestamid®) are offered with a wide range of properties depending on the specific polyamide (PA6, PA66, PA11, PA12, PA46). Unfilled grades have excellent toughness and stiffness, but are prone to water uptake. Filled grades offer excellent strength, temperature resistance, and chemical resistance. They are used in cable protection systems, fuel caps, and robotics. RPU 130 is a good alternative to unfilled nylons (particularly nylon 6 and 6.6) due to its combination of temperature resistance, ductility, and abrasion resistance. A filled nylon Carbon alternative is EPX 82 for its high stiffness, temperature resistance, and functional toughness. EPX 86FR offers similar performance to EPX 82, plus it is UL 94 V0 Blue Card-certified.
Polycarbonate (used in HYDEX®, Makrolon®, Lexan®, TECANAT®, and Zelux®) is often used when strength, impact resistance and temperature resistance are needed in a clear application; for example, electrical components, dome lights, roofing sheets, and CDs. If stiffness and temperature resistance are most important, EPX 82 is a good choice, but if functional toughness and temperature resistance are crucial, RPU 130 is the best choice. If clarity is important, Loctite® 3D IND405 Clear is a good alternative that is certified for Carbon printers.
PMMA (used in acrylics) has excellent optical properties with its high-gloss, scratch resistant finish. It has poor chemical resistance and can be brittle though. It’s used in eyeglass lenses, artificial teeth, and exterior lens lights on automobiles. Carbon offers RPU 70 for its stiffness, aesthetics, and ease of use. For clear applications, Carbon recommends Loctite IND405, which is certified for Carbon printers.
POM (used in Delrin® and Celcon®) is a stiff and relatively tough material known for its good lubricity, low creep, and excellent fatigue properties. It’s used in mechanical gears, springs, chains, nuts, locks, hinges, and TV parts. RPU 130 is a good replacement for POM for its excellent abrasion resistance, but it is softer and less lubricious than POM. If rigidity is more important than abrasion and temperature resistance, RPU 70, UMA 90, or IND405 (for clear applications) are good choices.
PBT (used in Crastin®) is notable for its excellent electrical properties. It’s used in EE housings and plug connectors. Unfilled grades are tough and rigid, and filled grades add strength and temperature resistance. EPX 82 is a great alternative to glass-filled PBT because it offers a similar combination of strength and temperature resistance, electrical properties, and functional toughness. EPX 86FR offers similar performance to EPX 82, plus it is UL 94 V0 Blue Card-certified.
Polypropylene is commonly used for its low cost, excellent acid and base resistance, and flexible, snappy properties with moderate temperature resistance. Filled grades of polypropylene (like talc, mineral, or glass) are used for increased temperature resistance and stiffness. It’s used in flip-top bottles, piping systems, and dishwasher-safe food containers. If flexible, snappy properties are important, RPU 130 or FPU 50 can offer similar performance. EPX 82 is a good replacement for filled grades. For clear applications, IND405 offers good toughness and moderate temperature resistance.
High-Performance Thermoplastics (used in PEEK, PEI (Ultem™), PSU (Udel®, Ultrason®), and PPSU (Radel®)) generally have exceptional temperature and chemical resistance, exhibit high stiffness and toughness, and are commonly available in flame-retardant grades. EPX 82 offers a strong balance of temperature resistance, strength, and toughness. EPX 86FR is the right choice for applications requiring flame retardance. RPU 130 is a good option if stiffness is not the most important factor. CE 221 offers the best temperature and chemical resistance, but it can be more brittle than the other options.
Thermoplastic Polyurethane Elastomers (TPU)
Thermoplastic Polyurethane Elastomers (TPUs) have a range of properties including elasticity, tear strength, and chemical and abrasion resistance and come in various durometer measures and resilience. Carbon has a variety of elastomers that are excellent matches for commercial TPU products. The choice of material will depend on the durometer measurement required. EPU 40 is a 68A durometer elastomer with energy dampening. EPU 41 is a 73A durometer elastomer with high energy return. EPU 44 is a 77A durometer elastomer also with a high energy return but is better suited for industrial production workflows.
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