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Fine Silica for 3D Printing Resins/Additive Manufacturing

AGC offers a family of fine silica gels with different particle sizes and porosities under the trade name SOLESPHERE™. These fine silica gels are very spherical, very pure and provide many functionalities for 3D printing resin formulations.

3D printing/additive manufacturing is the process of creating solid three dimensional objects, layer by layer, with the use of computer design modeling. This process drastically reduces prototype costs and time to market. This field is rapidly growing and specialty fillers are needed to reach higher performance levels. SOLESPHERE products can help improve product quality, increase performance properties and processing efficiencies for all three major 3D printing processes.

SOLESPHERE offers many benefits to various 3D printing resin formulations

  • Higher tensile strength
  • Increase stiffness/flexural strength
  • Improved dimensional stability
  • Easily dispersible in polymer matrix
  • Thermal resistant/improved HDT
  • Spacers (prevents blocking of soft polymer in powder fusion processes)

Silica loadings in 3D resin formulations can range from 3-50% by weight. Highly filled resin formulations present two major challenges: viscosity control and sedimentation. The physical properties of SOLESPHERE help mitigate these two major concerns.

Viscosity Control

Higher filler loadings typically mean higher viscosities, which decreases workability and processing speeds. However, the size and shape of SOLESPHERE silica gels reduce the viscosity. They are very spherical, have a really smooth surface and their particle size is larger than other silica offerings, providing lower surfaceareas. SOLESPHERE gels also form a matrix with typical 3D printing resins and other additives, keeping the constituents in suspension. This provides good viscosity stability over time.

Sedimentation (anti-settling)

Phase separation is when heavier additives settle downward during storage or idle time and lighter components migrate to the top. SOLESPHERE’s surface chemistry is very functional and provides a network within the polymer matrix. This matrix helps prevent phase separation during storage.

 

Fine Silica Products for Catalyst Supports

SOLESPHERE™:

  • Spherical, uniform porosity, narrow particle size
  • Particle sizes: 3 - 20 μm
  • Pore diameters up to 1000 Å
  • Surface area: 30 - 800 m2/g