Belgium-based Materialise has announced the launch of a new, highly flexible and durable material for 3D printing called TPU 92A-1. It was first seen on the catwalk in Iris van Herpen’s Voltage Haute Couture show during Paris Fashion Week in January.
The resilient, textile-like material is produced via laser sintering, a process similar to stereolithography that uses temperature-sensitive powder instead of UV-sensitive liquid, causing the powder to become a coherent mass without melting. To maximize speed, the build takes place in a highly heated chamber so the laser only has to increase the material's temperature slightly to bond it. Laser sintering is an additive manufacturing technology known for utilizing a wide range of build materials with critical properties in industries such as aerospace and medicine.
The finished material's stable temperature range is -20°C to 80°C. Its characteristics are high elasticity, tearing resistance, abrasion resistance, dynamic load resistance and rapid shape memory response. Potential applications include seals, gaskets, complex tubes, hoses, manifolds, shock absorption, fashion elements and rapid prototyping of elastic components. Currently, TPU 92A-1 is only available for customers of Materialise’s professional manufacturing and prototyping services.