Carbon Fiber Reinforced Composites Applications for Additive Manufacturing

| The Essentium Team

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Manufacturers use carbon fiber reinforced composites for industrial applications in the aerospace, automotive, electronic manufacturing, medical devices, and battery industry, as well as countless others. The proven advantages of reinforced materials open opportunities for additive manufacturing applications that were previously unachievable.

Essentium offers five materials reinforced with carbon fiber, giving them superior mechanical properties such as enhanced strength, stiffness, temperature resistance, and surface finish. These properties allow for carbon fiber reinforced composites applications such as:

Essentium PP-CF 

Essentium PP-CF is a semicrystalline material processed with milled carbon fiber. The carbon fiber reinforcement limits warping and improves the mechanical properties of the composite. Due to its non-polar nature it is excellent for low-temperature casting applications, allowing users to release molds without any adhesion issues.

PP-CF Application: Over-Molding Metal Handle 

Metal handles are typically over-molded with silicone rubbers for ergonomics. In this example, a pressure cooker handle mold was printed with PP-CF and used to create a rubber cover to increase comfort and reduce slip.

Essentium PPS-CF

Essentium PPS-CF is excellent for high-pressure and temperature tooling applications due to its high crystallinity and high deflection temperature of 240°C. It can be easily machined after printing and before injection molding to improve surface finish.

PPS-CF Application: Type V Specimen Mold

The high heat deflection temperature of PPS-CF makes it great for printing high temperature tooling. In this example, the user printed PPS-CF molds for forming polypropylene Type V specimens.

Essentium HTN-CF25

Due to its stiffness and high heat deflection temperature, Essentium HTN-CF25 is commonly used for tooling applications, high-strength/stiffness jigs and fixtures, and as a replacement for light-duty aluminum parts.

HTN-CF25 Application: Mid-Body for Drone

Essentium HTN-CF25 has the highest heat deflection temperatures and tensile and flexural strength when compared to competitors. These properties made it the perfect choice for keeping critical components in the mid-body safe from dangerous weather events.

Essentium PA-CF

Essentium PA-CF is a carbon fiber-infused polyamide filament specially formulated for additive manufacturing. PA-CF provides exceptional strength, durability, thermal stability, and stiffness customary of carbon fiber materials.

PA-CF Application: Definitive Socket

PA-CF is durable, flexible, and has great surface finish. This material has been used for definitive sockets and other 3D printed prosthetics. In 2022, this material passed the cytotoxicity, sensitization, and irritation requirements and is approved for safe skin contact.

Essentium PET-CF

Essentium PET-CF is a 15% carbon fiber reinforced polyester with a balance of stiffness and strength, has temperature resistance of more than 155 ̊C when annealed, and is resistant against common solvents.

PET-CF Application: Definitive Socket

Like PA-CF, PET-CF also passes cytotoxicity, sensitization, and irritation requirements and is approved to be used on the skin. This material has been used for foot orthotics applications for patients.

For a deeper dive into how reinforced materials have opened opportunities for additive manufacturing applications, download our Carbon Fiber Reinforced Composites white paper.

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