TPU SMP - 4D Filament View larger

TPU SMP - 4D Filament

Convena

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170,00 €
170,00 €

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TPU filament that allows to modify the shape of 3D printed parts while maintaining shape memory.

Convena is Europe's largest independent trader of fluoropolymers, offering materials in different formats such as powder, pellets or filaments. Fluoropolymers are high performance polymers which have a particularly good chemical resistance to almost all acids, bases and solvents due to their high fluorine content.

The filaments distributed by Convena are manufactured using raw materials of the highest quality, and all its products are subject to strict controls in order to offer high performance solutions.

Its portfolio of FDM 3D printing filaments includes the most innovative materials on the market, including TPU SMP, also known as 4D filament.

The TPU SMP filament owes its name to the Shape Memory Polymer technology. It is a special filament with a TPU-based composition that allows post-processing to modify the shape of 3D printed parts.

TPU SMP filament.

Image 1: TPU SMP filament. Source: Convena.

TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is a widely used material in filament form for FDM 3D printing. This elastomeric polymer is characterised by its high resistance to abrasion, certain chemical elements, UV rays and low temperatures, making it a material widely used in a wide variety of sectors for the manufacturing of parts that require good impact absorption in addition to the characteristics described above.

In the case of the TPU SMP filament, it has been possible to develop a new material that remains rigid at room temperature and offers special properties when it reaches its glass transition temperature.

4D Filament

Thanks to its special composition and the Shape Memory Polymer technology, 3D printed parts with SMP TPU filament can be modified manually, allowing them to acquire another shape and maintain it over time. To do this, the 3D printed part needs to reach the material's glass transition temperature. At this point, the elastic properties of the material change drastically.

Thanks to this characteristic, the TPU SMP filament is considered the first 3D printing filament called 4D by experts, referring to a fourth dimension achieved in the post-processing of 3D printed parts with this material.

Video 1: Demonstration of the SMP TPU shape modification process. Source: Convena.

The process of modifying the shape of a 3D printed part with SMP TPU filament involves placing the 3D printed part in a container of hot water until it reaches its glass transition temperature. At this point, the part softens and the user can easily modify its shape. Once cooled, the part maintains the acquired shape and remains stable. For more information on the post-processing of 3D printed parts with SMP TPU filament, we recommend accessing the "Usage tips" section of the product.

3D printed part before and after post-processing

Image 2: 3D printed part before and after post-processing. Source: Convena.

In addition to being able to modify the shape of 3D printed parts with SMP TPU filament, another of its differentiating features is that it is possible to restore the original shape by reversing the process carried out. To do this, the modified 3D printed part must be brought back to the material's glass transition temperature.

By doing this in hot water, the part can be seen to return to its original shape within seconds. This process eliminates the stress added by customising the shape of the part resulting in the recovery of its original shape. The SMP filament allows a maximum deformation of 400% with respect to the original shape of the 3D printed part.

Innovative applications

This novel filament opens the door to a myriad of applications in various sectors, including potential R&D uses in the aerospace industry and the medical environment. In the latter, it is possible to manufacture parts with flat geometries that can later be adapted to different parts of the body, such as arms or legs, making it possible to manufacture customised orthoses from a common model.

Impact strength (KJ/m2) 21
Elongation at break (%) 31
Tensile strength (MPa) 16
Tensile modulus (MPa) 570
Flexural strength (MPa) 740
Flexural modulus (MPa) 26
Softening temperature (ºC) 55
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This SMP changes shape at temperatures above 55 ºC. Therefore, parts 3D printed with this material must be kept at a temperature below 55 ºC to remain dimensionally stable.

It is recommended to use a specific adhesive for FDM 3D printing such as AprintaPRO's PrintaFix to improve adhesion to the printing surface when the models to be printed have a reduced base area. It should be noted that parts 3D printed with TPU SMP filament should be removed from the printing surface once the bed temperature is below 30°C to avoid possible deformation.

Post-processing

To modify the shape of 3D printed parts with SMP TPU filament, the following steps must be followed:

  1. Prepare water at the temperature above 55 ºC in a container.
  2. Place the 3D printed part in the container with hot water.
  3. At this point, the 3D printed part softens and becomes malleable, allowing the user to modify its shape very easily. The malleability of the part will depend largely on the wall thickness used.
  4. When removing the 3D printed part from the container, while it is kept at the glass transition temperature of the material, it is possible to modify its shape. It should be noted that as it cools, it will become increasingly difficult to modify its shape.
  5. Once cooled, the piece will maintain the shape achieved and remain stable.

Shape modification process with TPU SMP.

Image 1: Shape modification process with TPU SMP. Source: Convena.

It is possible to return the 3D printed part to its original shape by repeating the above process. By placing the deformed part in the hot water container, the material will reach the glass transition temperature and return to its original shape.

General information
Manufacturer Convena
Material TPU SMP
Format Spool of 300 g
Spool of 750 g
Density 1.24 g/cm3
Diameter of filament 1.75 or 2.85 mm
Diameter tolerance ±0,05 mm
Filament length ±100 m (Ø 1.75 mm-0.3kg)
±154 m (Ø 2.85 mm-0.75kg)
Color Natural
RAL/Pantone -
Print settings
Printing temperature 210 - 230 ºC
Print base/bed temperature 0 - 45 ºC (<55 ºC)
Chamber temperature Not required
Layer fan 80 - 100 %
Printing speed 30 - 60 mm/s
Minimum nozzle diameter 0.4 mm or superior
Layer height -
Retraction -
Mechanical properties
Izod impact strength (notched) (JIS K 7110) 21 KJ/m2
Charpy impact strength -
Elongation at break (JIS K 7161) 31 %
Tensile strength (JIS K 7161) 16 MPa 
Tensile modulus (JIS K 7161) 570 MPa
Flexural strength (JIS K 7171) 740 MPa
Flexural modulus (JIS K 7171) 26MPa
Surface hardness 57 Shore A
Abrasion resistance -
Thermal properties
Softening temperature 55 ºC
Additional information
HS Code 3916.9
Spool diameter (outer) -
Spool diameter (inner) -
Spool width -


* The typical values detailed in this table should be considered as a reference. Actual values may vary depending on the 3D printer model used, part design and printing conditions. We recommend confirming the results and final properties with own tests. For more information you should consult the technical data sheet of the product.

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