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3-D Printing Physical Properties

Physical Properties of 3D Printed PTFE

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  • Final part properties

    The physical properties of 3D printed PTFE parts are comparable to those of conventionally produced parts. Both our material formulation and post-processing steps are optimized to produce parts that meet your most stringent specifications. Keep reading to see how the properties of 3D printed PTFE parts compare against traditional CNC machined components.


    Density is a critical property of PTFE. Density data allow for conclusions about processing conditions, like cooling rate after sintering, and about certain properties, like flex life or permeability – all of which affect the quality of a PTFE part.

    To test how 3D printing might affect part density, 3M printed a variety of PTFE parts up to approximately 1.4 mm thickness. Test results on the samples produced show density values of 2.12 to 2.17g/cm³ which is within the typical range of conventionally processed material. Parts were also utilized using a scanning electron microscope, and compared with similar parts produced by machining. As you can see, the results are similar in both the printed and machined cross-section.

  • Density Range of printed PTFE parts

    Density range of PTFE parts produced by conventional technologies

    *Density measurements were performed by the displacement method referring to ASTM D792-13.

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  • Cross section of a 3D printed PTFE part (freeze fractured).
    Cross section of a 3D printed PTFE part (freeze fractured).
  • Cross section of a machined PTFE part (freeze fractured).
    Cross section of a machined PTFE part (freeze fractured).
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  • Tensile test measurements based on a dog-bone sample
    Tensile test measurements based on a dog-bone sample.
    *Punched from a horizontal 3D-printed sheet of PTFE (ASTM D1708).

    Mechanical strength

    • Due to its unique nature, PTFE is not melt processible, which is why it is not injection molded or extruded. A critical step to achieve mechanical integrity in the finished part is fusion of the PTFE particles, accomplished in conventional processing methods by compression molding and sintering.
    • While not intended to exactly replicate existing PTFE processing technology, our 3D printing process does accomplish a similar fusion of PTFE particles. Test results show that this process can yield parts with mechanical strength suitable for a wide range of applications. The two characteristics related to the material’s mechanical strength are tensile strength and elongation at break, which are often part of the initial screening for specific applications. To test these values, a PTFE part was 3D printed to simulate a sintered die cut specimen. The part was then tested in build plane (parallel to printed layers). The resulting average values were 23 MPa tensile strength and 240% elongation at break. *
    • In some materials, such as PTFE, the yield point is not easily defined, because no clear yield point appears over the course of the stress-strain curve. In these cases, an approximation called “offset yield strength” is determined. For PTFE, the stress at which 10% permanent deformation occurs is often used.
    • In the figure below, the average offset yield strength of 3D printed PTFE test specimens is compared to a sintered die cut PTFE test specimen, manufactured using traditional processing methods. The 3D printed part was tested in the build plane (parallel to printed layers).
    • Testing showed that the 3D printed specimen exhibited similar performance, in the direction parallel to the printed layers, to the traditionally produced specimen. This indicates that 3D printing of PTFE parts may be a viable option for many specialized applications.
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Graph showing Yield strength rate of printed PTFE parts at 10% offset is 8 to 12 MPa and of skived PTFE film at 10% offset is 10 to 12 MPa
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  • Data not for specification. Tensile specimen based on ASTM D1708 (thickness: 1.5 mm) tested at 12.7 mm per minute extension at room temperature.

    Part Resolution

    3M’s unique 3D printing process for PTFE is based on vat polymerization technology, which offers high dimensional resolution. This allows the creation of fine features (e.g. wall thickness as thin as .2 mm in part resolution for simple, symmetric geometries. If your part requires a high level of detail or miniaturized features, it may be an excellent candidate for 3D printing.

  • Cog Wheel

    Top view of a small printed PTFE cogwheel, produced at 3M laboratories.

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Want to learn more?

Check out the links below for more information.
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Ready to get started?

Take our Tech Check and download the Design Guidelines (PDF, 217.10 KB) to make sure your part is a good candidate for 3D printing.

If you’re ready to get started, or if you have any questions, please reach out to a 3M expert.

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