Investigation of the Processability of Polyether Block Amide in High Speed Sintering

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University of Texas at Austin


The High Speed Sintering (HSS) process ranks among the processes of Powder Bed Fusion of polymers (PBF-P) of Additive Manufacturing (AM). Its scalability, constant layer time and high quality of complex parts compared to other AM processes are some of the characteristics of the HSS showing its potential for series production for small to medium series. Most of the investigations for the PBF-P processes were conducted using commercially available materials like Polyamide 12 (PA12), Polyamide 6 (PA6), Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), Polypropylene (PP) and Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). This work reports from the processing of Polyether block amide (PEBA) in HSS. As a block-copolymer on amide basis, PEBA shows higher performance compared to other block-copolymers like TPU: The high elastic properties, low density and high service temperature make PEBA an ideal material for the use in the athletic footwear and outdoor industry. Until now, no research was conducted on processing PEBA powder in HSS. This work focusses on the material analysis of PEBA powder and manufacturing of specimens of varying sets of process parameters using methods of Design of Experiments (DoE) and IFINAM TPA powder from Evonik. Based on a predictive model, parameter sets for optimum mechanical properties, dimensional accuracy and overall part properties of HSS PEBA parts were optimised within the framework of this work.


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