3D Printing, Aerospace Industry

Manufacturing for Spaceflight Applications

By Samantha Bild on October 23, 2018

3D printing is taking off in the aerospace industry – literally!

The aerospace industry has always been an adopter of experimental technologies to further space exploration. Additive manufacturing is a perfect solution since most parts require low volume production, high levels of customization and complex geometries. 

NASA Aerospace Industry Additive Manufacturing

Materials for Aerospace Manufacturing

To continue incorporating additive manufacturing in its production processes, the aerospace industry communicated a need for new, advanced materials. Current material offerings, such as ABS-ESD7 and ULTEM 9085 meet one or two requirements for space applications, but not all requirements simultaneously. For example, during spaceflight, post-processing limits the advantages gained from additive manufacturing but is required when using ULTEM™ 9085.

>> Download our Additive Manufacturing Trends in Aerospace Whitepaper

To address this challenge, Stratasys Advanced Materials collaborated with industry partners to develop ESD PEKK (dissipative polyetherketoneketone). 

Aerospace Industry Additive Manufacturing

All materials going into space must have the ability to endure temperatures that range from -150°C to +150°C within an hour while withstanding damage from electrostatic discharge. ESD PEKK combines the electrostatic dissipative properties from ABS-ESD7 and the strength and thermal properties of ULTEM 9085 with the addition of the ESD PEKK base resin’s chemical resistance. This new material is dissipative, meets out-gassing requirements and is chemically resistant to survive the extreme environmental conditions found in space.

Want to reduce the cost of tooling without increasing cost due to part complexity? Need a material that performs under pressure? Chances are your application can be supported by additive manufacturing. 

Looking for a more in-depth look at 3D printing materials? Download our High-Performance Materials Guide!

Download High-Performance Material Guide