Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU material) is a flexible, abrasion resistant thermoplastic. It’s being used in a number of manufacturing processes for both consumer and industrial use. In certain blends it can become very soft, but TPU material offers many benefits and features. 3D printed parts with TPU are durable and have the ability to withstand ambient temperatures of up to 80 degrees Celsius.
TPU filament is abrasion resistant, can withstand impacts and is resistant to many chemicals. Its versatile and used in many different industries. There are different versions of TPU material but in the main it can be classed as two types. Firstly known as Polyether Polyurethane and secondly Polyester Polyurethane. With both having different characteristics that can be suited to a specific need.
Specifications for TPU material
|Chemical resistance||Medium high|
|Nozzle temperature||220 – 250 °C|
|Heated bed||up to 60 °C|
Features of TPU filament
TPU filament has a number of features, making it a great choice for a wide range of uses. It is resistant to abrasion, oil, chemical and wearing, which makes it perfect for use in industries such as the automotive industry. printed parts of TPU are also resistant to low temperatures, which which means that it does not become brittle and difficult to work with.
Compared to TPE, which is also a flexible filament, TPU is a little bit easier to print and retains its elastic properties better at lower temperatures. TPU material also has a higher abrasion resistance and a higher resistance to oils and greases.
TPU filament, unlike other stiffer thermoplastic, has qualities that include flexibility and conformity. It also has an excellent interlayer adhesion and no curling or delamination during the 3D printing process.
Rigid or elastic
The hardness of TPU can depend on the blend of polymers. The temperature at which TPU filament will extrude is 220–250 degrees. A heated build platform is not required, but when used the temperature should not be higher than 60 degrees. The extruder system will need to withstand materials that are both flexible and compressible up to a constant temperature of 250 degrees.
The flexibility of TPU is excellent, but this also depends on the 3D printing software settings. When you use a low level of infill, the 3D printed design will also be more flexible. This makes it possible to create objects that are more elastic or more rigid. When it comes to 3D printing, TPU filament requires the transfer of a larger amount of energy than a lot of other filaments. However, compared to other material there are no warping issues which can be experienced through thermic shock.
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