PP Filament Everything You Need to Know

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Explore the world of PP Filament in 3D printing. Uncover its benefits, applications, and tips for optimal printing results. Dive into details now!


by Editorial Staff: We are a team of 3D Printing Enthusiasts who have build a lot of knowledge about 3D Printing the last 8 years. Our aim is to create the knowledge hub for 3D Printing covering all minor and major topics. Providing one source of reliable Information for everybody regardless of Beginner or Expert.


Introduction

Polypropylene (PP) filament is a semi-crystalline thermoplastic known for its lightweight properties, resistance to chemicals, and flexibility. Within the 3D printing community, PP Filament is celebrated for producing parts with excellent fatigue resistance, making it ideal for living hinges and items subjected to repeated flexing. Its resistance to a wide range of chemicals, including bases, acids, and organic solvents, renders it suitable for containers and parts that will be exposed to harsh substances. Moreover, PP’s low density makes it one of the lightest 3D printing materials available, offering significant advantages for applications where weight is a critical factor.

PP Filament also stands out for its hygienic properties, being inherently resistant to bacteria growth, which, combined with its ability to be sterilized, makes it a prime choice for medical applications and food storage solutions. Despite its many benefits, PP can be challenging to print due to its tendency to warp, requiring specific print bed preparation and environmental control for successful prints.

About PP Filament

Polypropylene offers an exceptional balance of thermal properties, being able to withstand temperatures up to 130°C while maintaining its form. Its semi-crystalline nature contributes to its toughness and resistance to fatigue but also contributes to printing difficulties related to adhesion and warping. For users willing to navigate these challenges, PP opens up a realm of possibilities for creating durable, lightweight, and flexible parts.

One of the notable aspects of printing with PP is the material’s incompatibility with many common adhesives and paints, requiring specialized solutions for post-processing. However, this same characteristic contributes to PP’s appeal for applications requiring purity and chemical resistance, as it does not easily degrade or leach contaminants.

Possible Applications of PP Filament

Automotive Components

PP is used for interior and under-hood components in the automotive industry due to its lightweight, heat resistance, and chemical stability.

Medical Devices and Containers

Its biocompatibility and sterilization capability make PP ideal for surgical instruments, fluid reservoirs, and other medical applications.

Food Storage

PP’s safety for food contact, coupled with its resistance to bacteria growth and chemicals, makes it perfect for reusable food containers and packaging solutions.

Living Hinges

The material’s outstanding fatigue resistance is exploited in the design of living hinges – thin sections meant to be flexed repeatedly without failure.

Pros and Cons of PP Filament

Pros:

  • Lightweight: PP is one of the lightest filament options available, offering advantages in applications where reducing weight is beneficial.
  • Chemical Resistance: It exhibits excellent resistance to a wide variety of chemicals, making it ideal for chemical storage and resistant parts.
  • Fatigue Resistance: Suited for parts that will undergo repeated flexing or bending without fracturing.
  • Hygienic: Its resistance to bacteria growth and ability to be sterilized suits medical and food-related uses.

Cons:

  • Printing Difficulty: PP’s propensity to warp and poor adhesion to the print bed can make it challenging to work with without specific print surface preparations.
  • Limited Surface Treatments: It does not adhere well to glues or paints, limiting finishing options.
  • Environmental Control Required: Achieving optimal prints with PP often necessitates a controlled printing environment to minimize warping.
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Material Settings of PP Filament

SettingValue
Print Temperature [°C]220 – 255
Build Plate Temperature [°C]0 – 105
Print Speed [mm/s]10 – 50
Cooling Fan [%]10 – 50
Enclosed Build ChamberNot Required
Air ManagementRecommended
Min Active Heated Build Chamber Temperature [°C]Not Required
DryingRecommended
AnnealingRecommended

For successful printing with PP, a heated bed and the application of an adhesive specifically designed for PP can significantly improve bed adhesion and reduce warping. A controlled environment helps maintain consistent print quality.

Mechanical Properties of PP Filament

PropertyValue
Shore HardnessD50 – D65
Specific Gravity [g/cc]0.89 – 1.05
Tensile Strength at Break [Mpa]12 – 30
Elongation at Break [%]10 – 250
Flexural Strength [Mpa]15 – 30
Flexural Modulus [Mpa]350 – 1550
Impact Strength Charpy 23˚C [kJ/m²]3 – No Break
HDT B [°C]50 – 65
Tg [°C]-10 – 0

PP exhibits excellent tensile strength and elongation at break values, highlighting its flexibility and resilience. Its impact resistance ensures durability, even in environments subject to physical stress and strain.

Material Comparison

MaterialPLAABSPP
Print Temperature [°C]180 – 235230 – 270220 – 255
DurabilityModerateHighHigh
Ease of PrintingHighModerateDifficult
UV ResistanceLowModerateModerate
Heat ResistanceLowHighModerate

PP offers superior chemical resistance and flexibility compared to PLA and ABS, alongside better UV resistance. However, its printability is more challenging due to bed adhesion issues and warping, making it less user-friendly for beginners or those without the means to control the printing environment.

FAQ´s about PP Filament

Why choose PP over other flexible filaments?

PP’s combination of low weight, resistance to fatigue, chemicals, and UV light, alongside its hygienic properties, makes it unique among flexible filaments, especially for applications requiring these specific characteristics.

Can PP filament be used on any 3D printer?

While PP can be printed on many standard FDM 3D printers, success often depends on the ability to control the printing environment and bed adhesion. Printers with a heated bed and capability for fine-tuning temperature and speed are more apt to handle PP.

How can I improve bed adhesion when printing with PP?

Using a build surface specifically designed for PP, such as polypropylene sheets or applying an adhesive that works with PP, can greatly improve adhesion. Some users also recommend using packing tape or similar PP-based surfaces.

Is PP safe for creating children’s toys?

Yes, PP is safe for toys, given its non-toxic nature and chemical resistance. It is commonly used in commercial toys, especially those requiring durability and chemical safety.

How to store PP filament?

PP filament should be stored in a cool, dry place, ideally in a sealed container with desiccants to protect it from moisture, which can affect its printing properties.

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