TPU Filament for 3D Printing

What is TPU? 

Townsend Chemicals’ RE-FLEX TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is an elastomer that offers features such as flexibility, elasticity and resistance to oils and greases. It also combines the properties of both thermoplastics and rubbers, and can work as a great replacement for rubber or cast urethane. The thermoplastic nature of TPU allows for it to be moulded (even repeatedly) after being heated and softened. TPU is being used in a variety of consumer and industrial products! Commonly our RE-FLEX TPU is used to make TPU filament. 

What are the characteristics of TPU Filament? 

TPU filament is a great choice for a wide range of industries, as it has many of features, such as: 

  • Abrasion resistance 
  • Tough 
  • Flexible 
  • Elastic 
  • Lighter than metal 

3D printing with TPU Filament 

3D printers commonly use TPU filament as the raw material for 3D prints. While TPU filament may be more difficult to print than hard plastics, it offers great range of properties. Before the RE-FLEX TPU can be used, it needs to be made into a filament, making it suitable for 3D printing. This means that an extruder is required to convert the raw plastic pellets into filament. 

When compared to injection moulding, 3D printing has a variety of benefits. It has provided engineers with the ability to create plastic designs at their desk and in a

matter of hours. 3D printing is also great for small parts, designs with frequent changes and low volume production runs. The process of injection moulding also includes tooling design, which is one of the most expensive and time-consuming aspects of the process. In 3D printing, tooling design is not necessary. 

Applications for TPU Filament in 3D Printing 

The main industries that utilise TPU are automotive, medical, electrical and consumer goods. It is great for the automotive and electrical industry simply because of its high resistance to oil and grease, and its ability to produce flexible parts such as gaskets, belts, and components. It can be a valuable product in the medical industry to create dental materials, shoe orthotics, tubing for fluids and much more. The industry of consumers goods has many uses for TPU where different products require some degree of softness and flexibility. It is commonly used in shoes, cell phone cases, and fitness equipment. 

If you still have any questions left about TPU or Townsend Chemicals’ RE-FLEX TPU don’t hesitate to contact us today