SLS-manufactured components are often posttreated to modify the optical and haptic properties. At SKZ, the effects of this post-treatment on the “inner values” such as strength and toughness were investigated.
Laser sintering (SLS) is increasingly used for functional (small) series parts made of plastic. The resulting components often feel somewhat “powdery”, and the appearance is also often not optimal for every application. Therefore, post-treatment of the components by compaction blasting, vibratory grinding, chemical smoothing, but also infiltration and coloring is widely used.
In a research project, SKZ has looked at the inner values of the externally optimized components. This is because an influence of this post-treatment on the mechanical behavior cannot be ruled out. “We have investigated in detail the influence on tensile strength, toughness and notch sensitivity depending on the direction of construction and wall thickness,” says Senior Engineer Britta Gerets, describing the project. In the project, the influences were characterized for components made of polyamide 12 and then validated with polyamide 11 and glass-filled polyamide 12.
The institute was able to rule out any fundamental impairment of the mechanical short-time properties in the project. In the case of very thin-walled components, an improvement in tensile strength was even observed as a result of the surface smoothing.
SKZ is looking forward to follow-up inquiries from industry. “Due to the demand, we have added testing services for SLS components directly to our service portfolio,” Matthias Ruff, Sales Manager Education and Research, is pleased to report.
Laser sintering, or SLS for short, is a manufacturing process used in additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. In the meantime, the process, in which grain by grain is fused by laser irradiation in a powder bed, thus creating a component layer by layer, has arrived in industry.
SKZ is a climate protection company and a member of the Zuse community – an association of independent, industry-related research institutions that pursue the goal of improving the performance and competitiveness of industry, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, through innovation and networking.