TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is a bridge between rubbers and plastics for it exhibits good elasticity, flexibility and rigidity. Most smartphone cases are made from TPU because it’s easy to mould and inexpensive to use.
Introduce TPU to 3D printing, and the potential applications are taken to an even higher level. The complexity in design enabled by additive manufacturing means TPU can be used to prototype rapidly and create small series production runs for geometrically detailed parts and models beyond those that are injection moulded.
Essentium, one of the world’s foremost innovators in material science, has enhanced this capability even further with a range of TPUs for multiple applications. These include TPUs with a high, medium and low durometer, semi-rigid TPUs and an ESD-safe range. There’s also a flame retardant TPU for high-temp applications.
Here’s the complete list:
- TPU 74D
- TPU 80A LF
- TPU 95A LF
- Z TPU 80A
- Z TPU 74D
- Z TPU 95A
- TPU 90A Flame Retardant
In this guide, we’ll explore Essentium TPU filaments in greater detail.
Essentium TPU 74D
TPU 74D has the highest durometer in Essentium’s flexible portfolio, so it is the hardest flexible filament Essentium makes. This is useful for printing semi-rigid parts with high wear resistance, impact resistance and tensile strength.
TPU 74D can be used as a direct replacement for ABS with superior abrasion resistance and vibration dampening. It’s suited to making snap-fit connectors, press-fit connectors, impact-rated structural components and vibration isolation.
Essentium TPU 80A LF
TPU 80A LF (low friction) is the most flexible TPU in the Essentium range. It’s also one of the softest. It’s perfect for applications that require flexibility and robustness, such as bumpers, seals, gaskets, suction cups, grippers and plugs.
The low friction element of this filament means it won’t easily stick in the Bowden tube, making it suitable for a wide range of FDM 3D printers. It’s also tough and abrasion resistant making it suitable for use in demanding environments.
Essentium TPU 95A LF
TPU 95A is Essentium’s medium durometer TPU flexible filament. A medium durometer TPU like this offers the best balance of flexibility and hardness. It boasts outstanding tear resistance and excellent low-temperature flexibility.
Because it’s more rigid than TPU 80A LF, TPU 95A LF is better suited to making grommets, bushings, protective housings, flexible hoses, dampening feet and over-moulded soft grips. It’s also suited to consumer products like footwear.
Essentium Z TPU 80A
Z TPU 80A has the lowest durometer in Essentium’s electrostatically dissipative (ESD) portfolio, so it is the softest ESD-safe filament Essentium makes. Because of this and its non-marring surface, it lends itself well to jigs and fixtures.
This TPU has an exceptional elongation at break and enhanced impact resistance, owing to its flexibility and softness. In addition to ESD-safe jigs and fixtures in electronics, it’s perfect for seals, boots, gaskets, seals and print-in-place soft springs.
Essentium Z TPU 74D
Z TPU 74D has the highest durometer in Essentium’s electrostatically dissipative (ESD) portfolio, so it is Essentium’s hardest ESD-safe TPU. It’s semi-rigid and extremely resistant to tearing, abrasion and marring with repeated use.
It can be used to make ESD-safe versions of snap-fit connectors, press-fit connectors, impact-rated structural components, abrasion-resistant covers, electronics-safe jigs, fixtures and fittings, and for heavy load vibration isolation.
Essentium Z TPU 95A
Z TPU 95A is Essentium’s medium durometer electrostatically dissipative (ESD) filament, sitting between Z TPU 74D and Z TPU 80A. It can be used in place of the more rigid Z TPU 74D where additional flexibility is desirable.
The low friction surface of TPU 95A lends itself well to reliable 3D printing where it is particularly useful for creating parts with high impact, tear and wear resistance, including grips, grippers, grommets and bushings.
Essentium TPU 90A Flame Retardant
TPU 90A-FR is a flame retardant semi-rigid TPU with medium hardness. It has a UL94 V0 base resin which is certified for flame retardancy – it has been tested with a flame and stops burning within 12 seconds with non-inflamed drips.
Because it’s semi-rigid, TPU 90A offers the perfect combination of flexibility and toughness for end-use applications. It’s highly suited to making flame resistant vibration dampeners, gaskets, plugs, belts and flexible living hinges.