3D Systems’ polymer chemists specialize in developing advanced materials that help to propel the AM industry forward and open new 3D printing applications. To support these efforts, the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) was given access to a new, not yet commercially available, flame-retardant material, Figure 4 Tough FR V0 Black, for the purposes of testing and supporting their research for one of three awarded America Makes Maturation of Advanced Manufacturing for Low-Cost Sustainment (MAMLS) projects. The overarching theme for the MAMLS project is “Emerging Process Technology for Low Criticality Part Families.” Specifically, UDRI has been exploring “Rapid Part Replacement via Digital Light Processing; the additive manufacturing process enabled by 3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology. The 3D printed parts printed for this study included smaller parts typically found in cockpit interiors usually categorized as low criticality. The parts included electrical connectors, knobs, grommets, and spacers, each of which serves a functional purpose onboard aircraft. These lower criticality parts do not directly impact flight safety but drive important ergonomic and quality-of-life issues for maintainers and flight crews. Previously, these lower criticality part families have received little investment as they do not directly drive safety of flight or aircraft downtime.
The Figure 4 3D printing platform is an ideal platform for these smaller components due to the high print quality, high printing speed, and low capital investment needed for a baseline Figure 4 system. Additional advantages include the ability to easily tailor/customize surface finish and the ability to rapidly change materials, facilitating broad general use of the Figure 4 system.
- Figure 4 Tough FR V0 Black demonstrated exceptional results in many key performance areas, including fire resistance, fluid compatibility, UV stability, paint adhesion, and mechanical properties. In fire resistance tests, Figure 4 Tough FR V0 Black met the FAR 25.853 requirements for both 15-second horizontal and 12-second vertical burns. Plating these parts is also possible allowing passage of the preferred 60-second vertical burn test. Plating also can improve mechanical performance. These results confirm the material's ability to perform even under the most extreme conditions.
- The material also showcased excellent fluid compatibility with fuel (JP 8), turbine oil (Royco 808), hydraulic fluid (Royco 756), and IPA. Tested according to ASTM D543, it displayed no warping, swelling, or degradation. Sealants and elastomers within Figure 4 Tough FR V0 Black exhibited little change in mechanical properties, further highlighting its resilience.
- UV stability tests, conducted following ASTM G154/155 standards, revealed that Figure 4 Tough FR V0 Black experienced no cracking, crazing, or tensile strength issues. Additionally, coatings corrosion and erosion tests indicated no visible cracks or color change, with only minor changes to mechanical properties.
- Paint adhesion tests, carried out in accordance with ASTM D3359, demonstrated that Figure 4 Tough FR V0 Black had a 4B or 5B method rating, meaning that less than 5% of the paint was removed after exposure to 70°F and 50% humidity.
- The material also surpassed mechanical property requirements, with a heat deflection temperature of 66°C (compared to the ASTM D648 standard of 85°C to 115°C), and a tensile strength of 41 MPa (compared to the ASTM D638 standard of >8000 psi or 55 MPa). Another area of interest that was identified was the material’s elongation at break. By nature of the chemistry required, most AM FR materials tend to be rigid, with a low elongation at break, typically in the <10% range. Figure 4 Tough FR V0 Black achieved an astounding 33% elongation at break (compared to the ASTM D638 standard of >5%).
With its exceptional performance and compliance with FAR 25.853 flame retardancy requirements, Figure 4 Tough FR V0 Black is mature for implementation. Its successful test results and characteristics make it an exciting new option for small aircraft interior components in the MRO or new production environments.
We’re pleased with the exceptional performance of Figure 4 Tough FR V0 Black and look forward to exploring its potential applications in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, and electronics. The successful test results demonstrate our capability to deliver advanced materials that provide unparalleled performance and reliability.
Figure 4 Tough FR V0 is planned to be announced and commercially available for the Figure 4 technology platform in Q3 of 2023.