Carbon-fibre for 3D printing

Technology keeps pushing across borders. A Silicon Valley start-up has announce the availability of technology and materials to create Ultra Strong High Performance (USHP) polymer parts using a 3D printing process.

The company, Arevo Labs, works with a range of high-tech plastics, such as polyether ether ketone (PEEK) and polyphenylsulfone (PPSU), which are high-strength plastics often used in rapid prototyping. PPSU is marketed as having almost no melting point, making it useful for a range of industries, and PEEK is highly robust and therefore suited to very demanding mechanical environments.

Arevo’s development is in producing proprietary carbon-fibre and carbon nanotube reinforced materials. The company produces these as high-performance materials.

A great advantage to these materials is that they can be 3D printed. The polymer composites can be printed with commercially available filament fusion 3D printers. Using custom software, objects can be created with deterministic mechanical properties.

Technological breakthroughs made the new materials possible. The company optimised polymer formulations and innovative extrusion technology, making the materials suitable for additive manufacturing.

These materials have excellent resistance to high temperatures and chemical exposure. Applications are likely to be the defence and aerospace industries to start with, but we could be seeing ultra-light and super-strong bikes, clothing and buildings made of these printed power-polymers in the near future.