DSM Somos is announcing the commercialisation of NanoTool, the third generation of Somos ProtoComposite materials. Heavily filled with non-crystalline nanoparticles, NanoTool allows for faster processing and reduced finishing requirements that speed part production in comparison with current composite SL materials. NanoTool has a flexural modulus of 10,500MPa, a heat deflection temperature of 260degC (at 0.46MPa after thermal post-cure) and linear shrinkage of less than 0.001inch.
NanoTool SL parts are claimed to demonstrate the best sidewall quality of any composite SL material on the market today. Better sidewall quality reduces the amount of finishing time required to sand layer lines, making NanoTool extremely attractive for applications that require highly finished parts – such as wind tunnel testing for Formula 1, rapid tooling for injection moulding, and metal plating for prototyping metal cast parts.
In addition to demonstrating better sidewall quality, NanoTool parts are easy to clean once built. Unlike other composite resins that require more extensive time and care to remove residue, a simple water honing process removes any residue left on the surface of NanoTool parts.
Ralf Deuke, Director of German-based service bureau Alphaform AG, comments: "NanoTool delivers superior sidewall quality, excellent detail resolution and is very easy to finish. Overall handling is very similar to non-filled resins."
NanoTool's smooth surface quality and high initial modulus make it an excellent resin for metal plating – which is a growing application that saves time and money as an alternative to fully metal prototypes.
Sean Wise, President of RePliForm, comments: "The issue of part cleanliness becomes extremely important when plating composite resins because the RP parts will not metallise completely if residue is present." DSM Somos, in conjunction with RePliForm, is currently studying the metal plated strength improvements achievable with NanoTool. To date, flexural modulus values of >55GPa have been reached based on a metal-to-resin volume ratio of 1:4. The technology, known as MC2, promises to greatly enhance the effectiveness of prototyping metal parts.