Helsinki-based Carbodeon are no strangers to nanodiamond filaments. The company has previously shown how the presence of nanodiamonds within thermoplastic filament can improve thermal conductivity and tensile strength, among other properties. Now, they’re back with a new uDiamond filament with the help of VTT, who helped test and develop the nanodiamond properties.
Nanodiamonds are spherical inserts that act as lubricant in the extrusion process. They don’t increase in nozzle wear and further improve various material characteristics. The diamond particles also reinforce the polymer structure, improving the stiffness, strength and adhesion between printed layers. Carbodeon has extensive patent coverage for the nanodiamond materials that it manufactures along with refined products enhanced with nanodiamonds.
Carbodeon’s uDiamond PLA is a high-performance diamond-enhanced 3D printing filament that even works with consumer-grade printers. It contains functionalised nanodiamond particles. The thermal conductivity in uDiamond enables printing speeds of up to 500mm/s. The filament is for both consumer-grade and professional FDM/FFF 3D printers. The recommended printing temperature is 220°C – 250°C (depending on the printing speed) which can be 50-500 mm/sec. Similarly, bed temperatures should range between 0°C – 50°C.
VTT’s Work With uDiamond Filament
“This is the first product of a family that will be sold as a finished 3D filament and in a granular format, as well. VTT has been a long-term, reliable partner in this development, and has reacted to our needs quickly,” said Carbodeon CEO Vesa Myllymäki.
VTT helped in developing methods for evenly dispersing the nanodiamonds in PLA to best optimise the filament specifically for printing. The diamond nanoparticles within uDiamond have a diameter of 4–6 mm. They aid in improving the thermal conductivity which, in turn, improves the smoothness of printing and processing. VTT´s Polymer Pilot produced the original 600 kg material batch, which Carbodeon had refined into a commercial product.
“Using our chemical pilot devices, we at VTT produced the nanodispersed material required for the melt processing, and thus supported the creation of a new product,” says Jarmo Ropponen, Research Team Leader at VTT’s chemical pilots.
Nanodiamonds significantly improve material performance at a low cost despite such small quantities being present. VTT state that the preliminary tests showed the modulus of the 3D-printed test pieces improved by over 200% in comparison with the standard, market PLA filament.