From rapid prototyping to large-scale production, polymer additive manufacturing is excitingly versatile. Ever thought about creating your own custom eyewear? It’s now a thing – Oprah was wearing 3D printed glasses during her Meghan and Harry interview. 3D printing opens the possibility to design your own unique frames with a perfect fit. But what polymer is the perfect fit for your process?  

The polymer needs to have the right intrinsic properties such as melting temperature and rheology. It also needs to be suitable for your 3D printer and the end-use application. So, to the material specifications we go! And nestled among the mechanical and thermal properties are particle size and bulk density… 

Morphology Matters 

We collaborated with the Advanced Polymer Sintering Laboratory at the University of Sheffield to look at three different polymer powders used in laser sintering. To the eye, these are just fine white powders, but they have different measured packing and flow properties. This can ultimately affect processability and final part quality. Can we help explain why? 

Bulk and dispersed polymer powders on the Morphologi 4 

Magnified images of the dispersed powders immediately show that these powders are different. The PA 12 powder has more fines and is potato shaped while the co-PE and PS powders are more irregularly shaped.  

You can use the Morphologi 4 automated imaging system to quickly quantify these particle size and shape differences. Parameters such as circularity, elongation and convexity are collected for tens of thousands of particles. All in a single automated measurement. And once you’ve captured your images you can analyse them to your heart’s content with software that is simple to use and full of useful tools. Seeing is believing! 

Dive into our Knowledge Centre 

The details are all there in our latest application note, linked here.  

And if you’d like to hear more about this and about recycling in polymer additive manufacturing check out our recently recorded webinar

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