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Glass wool-reinforced PP developed as 3D printing material

April 7, 2016

2 Min Read
Glass wool-reinforced PP developed as 3D printing material

Nanodax (Tokyo, Japan) is a pioneer in the development of glass wool-reinforced thermoplastics and its most recent development initiative has been to develop a polypropylene (PP) compound with such reinforcement and process it into a filament for 3D printing. The company believes this development is significant given the very volume of plastic parts molded from PP.

3D printing with crystalline PP resin enabled via glass wool reinforcement.

According to company chairman Masanori Fujita, the reinforcement serves to reduce mold shrinkage for the crystalline resin from 1.5% down to the order of 0.5%, which is on a par or superior when compared to traditional 3D printing resins such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), whose typical shrinkage is 0.7–0.9%.

At the Plastic Japan show held this week in Tokyo, Nanodax was demonstrating application of its 3D G-magic Filament using a standard 3D printer (M200 desktop single extruder 3D printer from Polish company Zortrax. The PP base material was supplied by Sumitomo Chemical. Recommended nozzle temperature is 220–270°C.

In other developments, last month Nanodax signed an agreement with Covestro (formerly Bayer Material Science) on the development of innovative polycarbonate composites reinforced with glass wool. Nanodax has developed special equipment for the manufacture of these compounds in which glass wool is charged to a bath of molten resin in order to impregnate it.

Conventionally, glass fibers are used for reinforcing thermoplastics such as polycarbonate. However, the new technology developed by Nanodax and its know-how enabled the use of glass wool as reinforcing filler for plastics. It has a small diameter and is more flexible than glass fibers. Both companies see good prospects for future use of the reinforced plastics in automotive, IT and electronics applications. 

“We welcome the opportunity to work with Nanodax to advance such an exciting compound technology,” said Michael Schmidt, Head of Business Development for Polycarbonates Asia Pacific at Covestro. “Our development cooperation is targeting diverse application areas for polycarbonates reinforced with glass wool, and will open up new prospects for both companies. In particular, we are aiming at advantages in surface appearance and material processing. Cost reductions for customers are expected through an optimized injection molding manufacturing process.”

Nanodax Chairman and Executive Director Masanori Fujita added, “Together with Covestro, we aim to introduce our new materials and new technology to the global market. We value the global presence and technical expertise of our partner.”

The joint development work will be performed primarily at Covestro´s Polymer Research & Development Center (PRDC) in Shanghai, China.

Nanodax Co., Ltd was the first company to industrialize glass wool reinforced resins in the world and is now pushing forward various resin reinforcement technology developments. Among its more recent developments are an 80% glass wool-reinforced polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) compound.

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