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Title:
METHOD OF MAKING A THREE-DIMENSIONAL OBJECT USING PPSU
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/197156
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present disclosure relates to method of making three-dimensional (3D) objects using an additive manufacturing system wherein the part material comprises a polymeric component comprising a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) polymer (PPSU) having an optimized weight average molecular weight (Mw). In particular, the present disclosure relates to part material incorporating a PPSU of Mw ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, for example in the form of filaments or spherical particles, for use in additive manufacturing systems to print 3D objects.

Inventors:
JEOL, Stéphane (4220 Granby Circle, Cumming, GA, 30041, US)
SINGLETARY, Nancy J. (1820 Highgrove Club Drive, Alpharetta, GA, 30004, US)
VAN, Hai (746 Lawndale Court, Norcross, GA 746, 746, US)
Application Number:
EP2018/058317
Publication Date:
November 01, 2018
Filing Date:
March 30, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SOLVAY SPECIALTY POLYMERS USA, LLC (4500 McGinnis Ferry Road, Alpharetta, GA, 30005-3914, US)
International Classes:
B29C67/00; B29C63/00; C07C317/00; C08G65/40; C08G75/20; C08G75/23; C08K3/00; C08K7/00; C08L71/00; C08L81/06; H05B6/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016071088A12016-05-12
WO2015130401A22015-09-03
WO2014037374A12014-03-13
WO2016102330A12016-06-30
Foreign References:
US20020017743A12002-02-14
US20040222561A12004-11-11
US20150028523A12015-01-29
US20150273769A12015-10-01
US201662316835P2016-04-01
US201662419035P2016-11-08
US20020017743A12002-02-14
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FIORUCCI, Hélène (Rue de Ransbeek 310, 1120 Brussels, 1120, BE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

Claim 1 . A method of making a three-dimensional (3D) object, comprising:

- providing a part material comprising a polymeric component comprising at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards),

- printing layers of the three-dimensional object from the part material.

Claim 2. The method of claim 1 , wherein the part material also comprises up to 30 wt.%, based on the total weight of the part material, of at least one additive selected from the group consisting of fillers, colorants, lubricants, plasticizers, flame retardants, nucleating agents, flow enhancers and stabilizers.

Claim 3. The method of claim 1 or 2, wherein the polymeric component of the part material comprises at least 80 wt. % of poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer(s) (PPSU), based on the total weight of polymeric component of the part material.

Claim 4. The method of any one of claims 1 -3, wherein the part material is in the form of a filament or microparticles.

Claim 5. The method of anyone of claims 1 -4, wherein the step of printing layers comprises extruding the part material.

Claim 6. The method of anyone of claims 1 -5, wherein the poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) comprises at least 50 mol. % of recurring units (Rppsu) of formula (K), the mol. % being based on the total number of moles in the polymer:

(K) where - R, at each location, is independently selected from a halogen, an alkyl, an alkenyl, an alkynyl, an aryl, an ether, a thioether, a carboxylic acid, an ester, an amide, an imide, an alkali or alkaline earth metal sulfonate, an alkyl sulfonate, an alkali or alkaline earth metal phosphonate, an alkyl phosphonate, an amine, and a quaternary ammonium; and

- h, for each R, is independently zero or an integer ranging from 1 to 4. Claim 7. The method of anyone of claims 1 -5, wherein the poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) comprises at least 50 mol. % of recurring units (RPPSU) of formula (L), the mol. % being based on the total number of moles in the polymer:

(co)polymer (PPSU) comprises at least 90 mol. % of recurring units (Rppsu) of formula (L) and/or (K), the mol. % being based on the total number of moles in the polymer.

Claim 9. A filament material comprising a polymeric component comprising a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards).

Claim 10. The filament material of claim 8, wherein the polymeric component comprises at least 80 wt. % of poly(biphenyl ether sulfone)

(co)polymer (PPSU), based on the total weight of the polymeric component of the filament material.

Claim 1 1 . Use of a part material comprising a polymeric component comprising at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards), for the manufacture of three-dimensional objects using an additive manufacturing system. Claim 12. Use of claim 10, wherein the part material also comprises up to 30 wt.%, based on the total weight of the part material, of at least one additive selected from the group consisting of fillers, colorants, lubricants, plasticizers, flame retardants, nucleating agents, flow enhancers and stabilizers.

Claim 13. Use of anyone of claims 10-1 1 , wherein the polymeric component of the part material comprises at least 80 wt. % of poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU), based on the total weight of polymeric component of the part material.

Claim 14. Use of anyone of claims 10-12, wherein the part material is in the form of a filament or microparticles.

Claim 15. Use of a part material comprising a polymeric component comprising at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards), for the manufacture of a filament for use in the manufacture of three-dimensional objects.

Description:
Description

Method of making a three-dimensional object using PPSU Related Applications

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. provisional application

No. 62/489,125, filed April 24, 2017, and to European application

No. 17171975.0, filed May 19, 2017, the whole content of each of these applications being incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.

Technical Field

[0002] The present disclosure relates to a method of making three-dimensional (3D) objects using an additive manufacturing system, wherein the 3D object is printed from a part material comprising at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards). In particular, the present disclosure relates to a part material incorporating such PPSU (co)polymer, for example in the form of filaments or microparticles, for use in additive manufacturing systems to print 3D objects.

Background

[0003] Additive manufacturing systems are used to print or otherwise build 3D parts from digital representations of the 3D parts using one or more additive manufacturing techniques. Examples of commercially available additive manufacturing techniques include extrusion-based techniques, selective laser sintering, powder/binder jetting, electron-beam melting and stereolithography processes. For each of these techniques, the digital representation of the 3D part is initially sliced into multiple horizontal layers. For each sliced layer, a tool path is then generated, which provides instructions for the particular additive manufacturing system to print the given layer. [0004] For example, in an extrusion-based additive manufacturing system, a 3D part may be printed from a digital representation of the 3D part in a layer- by-layer manner by extruding and adjoining strips of a part material. The part material is extruded through an extrusion tip carried by a print head of the system, and is deposited as a sequence of roads on a platen in an x-y plane. The extruded part material fuses to previously deposited part material, and solidifies upon a drop in temperature. The position of the print head relative to the substrate is then incremented along a z-axis (perpendicular to the x-y plane), and the process is then repeated to form a 3D part resembling the digital representation. An example of extrusion- based additive manufacturing system starting from filaments is called Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF).

[0005] As another example, in a powder-based additive manufacturing system, a powerful laser is used to locally sinter powder into a solid part. A 3D part is created by sequentially depositing a layer of powder followed by a laser pattern to sinter an image onto that layer. An example of powder-based additive manufacturing system starting from powder is called Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).

[0006] As another example yet, carbon-fiber composites 3D part can be prepared using the continuous Fiber-Reinforced Thermosplastic (FRTP) printing method. The printing is based on fused-deposition modeling (FDM) and combines fibers and resin in a nozzle.

[0007] One of the fundamental limitations associated with known additive

manufacturing methods is based on the lack of identification of a polymeric material which allows obtaining a resulting 3D part with acceptable mechanical properties.

[0008] There is therefore a need for polymeric part material to be used in additive manufacturing systems, for example FFF, SLS or FRTP printing methods, which make possible the manufacture of 3D objects presenting improved set of mechanical properties (e.g. impact resistance, elongation and tensile properties). Summary of invention

[0009] An aspect of the present disclosure is directed to a method of making a three-dimensional (3D) object, for example using an additive

manufacturing system, comprising:

- providing a part material comprising a polymeric component comprising at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to

52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards), and

- printing layers of the three-dimensional object from the part material.

[0010] According to an embodiment, the method also includes the extrusion of the part material, with an extrusion-based additive manufacturing system, also known as fused filament fabrication technique (FFF).

[001 1] Another aspect of the disclosure is directed to a filament material

comprising at least one polymeric component comprising a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards).

[0012] Another aspect yet of the present disclosure is directed to the use of the herein described part material for the manufacture of three-dimensional objects or for the manufacture of a filament for use in the manufacture of three-dimensional objects using an additive manufacturing system, for example FFF, SLS or FRTP printing methods.

[0013] The applicant has found that the selection of a poly(biphenyl ether ketone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, allows the manufacture of 3D objects presenting improved mechanical properties (e.g. tensile properties and impact resistance).

[0014] The 3D objects or articles obtainable by such method of manufacture can be used in a variety of final applications. Mention can be made in particular of implantable device, dental prostheses, brackets and complex shaped parts in the aerospace industry and under-the-hood parts in the automotive industry.

Description of embodiments

[0015] The present disclosure relates to a method of making a three-dimensional (3D) object using an additive manufacturing system, such as an extrusion- based additive manufacturing system (for example FFF), a powder-based additive manufacturing system (for example SLS) or a continuous Fiber- Reinforced Thermosplastic (FRTP) printing method.

[0016] The method of the present disclosure comprises the steps of:

- providing a part material comprising a polymeric component which comprises at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards), and

- printing layers of the three-dimensional (3D) object from the part material.

[0017] The merit of the applicant has been to surprisingly identify a sulfone

polymer, which allow the manufacture of 3D objects having a good mechanical property profile (i.e. tensile strength, tensile elongation and impact resistance). This sulfone polymer is a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, for example from 48,500 g/mol to 51 ,500 g/mol (as determined by the gel permeation chromatography (GPC) method herein).

[0018] It is generally known and described in the literature that materials used for FFF or FDM must have a melt viscosity as low as possible in order to be extruded in a continuous way at the extrusion temperature. Also the melt viscosity of the polymers must be low enough so that deposited filaments lay flat rather than curl up. Melt viscosity can be lowered by increasing the temperature at which the material is extruded, but a too high temperature can cause heated material to decompose and increases energy

consumption.

[0019] The Applicant hereby shows that when the PPSU approaches a critical molecular weight upper limit, i.e. Mw of more than 52,000 g/mol, the printing properties diminish and it is not anymore relevant to measure the mechanical properties of the printed part. The Applicant also shows that a PPSU having a molecular weight Mw of less than 48,000 g/mol can be printed with a good quality but that quite surprisingly in view of the common general knowledge in the art (notably the fact the melt viscosity of the polymer should be as low as possible to facilitate the fusion of the extruded polymer filaments), this PPSU does not deliver the best mechanical properties (modulus of elasticity, elongation at break and impact resistance) in comparison to a PPSU having a Mw within the claimed range, between 48,000 and 52,000 g/mol.

[0020] The expressions "(co)polymer" or "polymer" are hereby used to designate homopolymers containing substantially 100 mol.% of the same recurring units and copolymers comprising at least 50 mol.% of the same recurring units, for example at least about 60 mol.%, at least about 65 mol.%, at least about 70 mol.%, at least about 75 mol.%, at least about 80 mol.%, at least about 85 mol.%, at least about 90 mol.%, at least about 95 mol.% or at least about 98 mol.%.

[0021] The expression "part material" hereby refers to a blend of material, notably polymeric compounds, intended to form at least a part of the 3D object. The part material is according to the present disclosure used as

feedstocks to be used for the manufacture of 3D objects or part of 3D objects.

[0022] The method of the present disclosure indeed employs the sulfone polymer as the main element of the part material, which can for example be shaped in the form of a filament or microparticles (with a regular shape such as spheres, or with a complex shape obtained by grinding/milling of pellets), to build a 3D object (e.g. a 3D model, a 3D article or a 3D part). [0023] In the present application:

- any description, even though described in relation to a specific

embodiment, is applicable to and interchangeable with other embodiments of the present disclosure;

- where an element or component is said to be included in and/or selected from a list of recited elements or components, it should be understood that in related embodiments explicitly contemplated here, the element or component can also be any one of the individual recited elements or components, or can also be selected from a group consisting of any two or more of the explicitly listed elements or components; any element or component recited in a list of elements or components may be omitted from such list; and

- any recitation herein of numerical ranges by endpoints includes all numbers subsumed within the recited ranges as well as the endpoints of the range and equivalents.

[0024] According to an embodiment, the part material is in the form of a filament.

The expression "filament" refers to a thread-like object or fiber formed of a material or blend of materials which according to the present disclosure comprises a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, for example from 48,500 g/mol to 51 ,500 g/mol (as determined by the gel permeation chromatography (GPC) method herein).

[0025] The filament may have a cylindrical or substantially cylindrical geometry, or may have a non-cylindrical geometry, such as a ribbon filament geometry; further, filament may have a hollow geometry, or may have a core-shell geometry, with another polymeric composition, being used to form either the core or the shell.

[0026] According to another embodiment, the part material is in the form of

microparticles or in powder form, for example having a size comprised between 1 and 200 μηη, for example between 10 and 100 μηη or between 20 and 80 μηη, for example for being fed through a blade, a roll or an auger-pump print head. [0027] According to an embodiment of the disclosure, the method of making a three-dimensional object using an additive manufacturing system comprises a step consisting in extruding the part material. This step may for example occurs when printing or depositing strips or layers of part material. The method of making 3D objects using an extrusion-based additive manufacturing system is also known as fused filament fabrication technique (FFF).

[0028] FFF 3D printers are, for example, commercially available from Indmatech, from Hyrel, from Roboze or from Stratasys, Inc. (under the trade name Fortus ® ). SLS 3D printers are, for example, available from EOS

Corporation under the trade name EOSINT ® P. FRTP 3D printers are, for example, available from Markforged.

[0029] Part material

[0030] The part material employed in the method of the present disclosure

comprises a polymeric component which comprises at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, for example from 48,500 g/mol to 51 ,500 g/mol (as determined by the gel permeation chromatography (GPC) method herein).

[0031] The part material of the disclosure may include other components. For example the part material may comprise at least one additive, notably at least one additive selected from the group consisting of fillers, colorants, lubricants, plasticizers, stabilizers, flame retardants, nucleating agents, flow enhancers and combinations thereof. Fillers in this context can be reinforcing or non-reinforcing in nature.

[0032] In embodiments that include fillers, the concentration of the fillers in the part material ranges from 0.1 wt.% to 30 wt.%, with respect to the total weight of the part material. Suitable fillers include calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, glass fibers, graphite, carbon black, carbon fibers, carbon nanofibers, graphene, graphene oxide, fullerenes, talc,

wollastonite, mica, alumina, silica, titanium dioxide, kaolin, silicon carbide, zirconium tungstate, boron nitride and combinations thereof. [0033] According to an embodiment of the present invention, the part material may comprise at least one additive selected from the group consisting of hydroxyapatite, a-tricalcium phosphate (a-TCP), β-TCP and barium sulfate (BaSO ).

[0034] According to one embodiment, the part material of the present disclosure comprises:

- a polymeric component comprising at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, for example from 48,500 g/mol to 51 ,500 g/mol (as determined by the gel permeation chromatography (GPC) method herein), and

- from 0 to 30 wt.% of at least one additive, for example selected from the group consisting of fillers, colorants, lubricants, plasticizers, flame retardants, nucleating agents, flow enhancers and stabilizers, based on the total weight of the part material.

[0035] According to another embodiment, the part material of the present

disclosure consists essentially of:

- a polymeric component comprising at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, for example from 48,500 g/mol to 51 ,500 g/mol (as determined by the gel permeation chromatography (GPC) method herein), and

- from 0 to 30 wt.%, from 0.1 to 28 wt.% or from 0.5 to 25 wt.% of at least one additive selected from the group consisting of fillers, colorants, lubricants, plasticizers, flame retardants, nucleating agents, flow enhancers and stabilizers, based on the total weight of the part material.

[0036] Poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU)

[0037] A poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer is a polyarylene ether sulfone which comprises a biphenyl moiety. Poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) is also known as polyphenyl sulfone (PPSU) and for example results from the condensation of 4,4'-dihydroxybiphenyl (biphenol) and

4,4'-dichlorodiphenyl sulfone. For the purpose of the present disclosure, a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer (PPSU) denotes any polymer comprising at least 50 mol. % of recurring units (Rppsu) of formula (K), the mol. % being based on the total number of moles in the polymer:

(K) where

- R, at each location, is independently selected from the group consisting of a halogen, an alkyl, an alkenyl, an alkynyl, an aryl, an ether, a thioether, a carboxylic acid, an ester, an amide, an imide, an alkali or alkaline earth metal sulfonate, an alkyl sulfonate, an alkali or alkaline earth metal phosphonate, an alkyl phosphonate, an amine, and a quaternary ammonium; and

- h, for each R, is independently zero or an integer ranging from 1 to 4 (for example 1 , 2, 3 or 4).

[0039] According to an embodiment, R is, at each location in formula (K) above, independently selected from the group consisting of a C1 -C12 moiety optionally comprising one or more than one heteroatoms; sulfonic acid and sulfonate groups; phosphonic acid and phosphonate groups; amine and quaternary ammonium groups.

[0040] According to an embodiment, h is zero for each R. In other words,

according to this embodiment, the recurring units (Rppsu) are units of formula (Κ'):

(Κ')

[0041 ] According to an embodiment of the present disclosure, at least 60 mol. %, at least 70 mol. %, at least 80 mol. %, at least 90 mol. %, at least 95 mol. %, at least 99 mol. % or all of the recurring units in the PPSU are recurring units (Rppsu) of formula (K) and/or formula (Κ').

[0042] According to another embodiment of the present disclosure, a

poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) denotes any polymer comprising at least 50 mol.% of recurring units (Rppsu) of formula (L):

(the mol. % being based on the total number of moles in the polymer).

[0043] The PPSU polymer of the present disclosure can therefore be a

homopolymer or a copolymer. If it is a copolymer, it can be a random, alternate or block copolymer.

[0044] According to an embodiment of the present disclosure, at least 60 mol. %, at least 70 mol. %, at least 80 mol. %, at least 90 mol. %, at least

95 mol. %, at least 99 mol. % or all of the recurring units in the PPSU are recurring units (Rppsu) of formula (L).

[0045] When the poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) is a copolymer, it can be made of recurring units (R*PPSU), different from recurring units (Rppsu), such as recurring units of formulas (M), (N) and/or (O):

where - R, at each location, is independently selected from a halogen, an alkyl, an alkenyl, an alkynyl, an aryl, an ether, a thioether, a carboxylic acid, an ester, an amide, an imide, an alkali or alkaline earth metal sulfonate, an alkyl sulfonate, an alkali or alkaline earth metal phosphonate, an alkyl phosphonate, an amine, and a quaternary ammonium; and

- i, for each R, is independently zero or an integer ranging from 1 to 4 (for example 1 , 2, 3 or 4).

[0046] According to an embodiment, R is, at each location in formulas (M) to (O) above, independently selected from the group consisting of a C1 -C12 moiety optionally comprising one or more than one heteroatoms; sulfonic acid and sulfonate groups; phosphonic acid and phosphonate groups; amine and quaternary ammonium groups.

[0047] According to an embodiment, i is zero for each R of formulas (M), (N) or (O). In other words, according to this embodiment, the recurring

*PPSU) are units of formulas (Μ'), (Ν') and/or (Ο'):

[0048] According to an embodiment of the present disclosure, less than

40 mol. %, less than 30 mol. %, less than 20 mol. %, less than 10 mol less than 5 mol. %, less than 1 mol. % or all of the recurring units in th PPSU are recurring units (R*PPSU) of formulas (M), (N), (O), (Μ'), (Ν') and/or (Ο'). [0049] According to another embodiment of the present disclosure, a

poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) is a copolymer and has recurring units (R*PPSU), different from recurring units (Rppsu), such as recurring units of formulas M"), (N") and/or (O"):

[0050] According to an embodiment of the present disclosure, less than

45 mol. %, less than 40 mol. %, less than 35 mol. %, less than 30 mol. %, less than 20 mol. %, less than 10 mol. %, less than 5 mol. %, less than 1 mol. % or all of the recurring units in the PPSU are recurring

units (FTPPSU) of formulas (M"), (N") and/or (O").

[0051 ] The poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) can also be a blend of a PPSU homopolymer and at least one PPSU copolymer as described above, as long as at least one of these PPSU polymer has a Mw ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, for example from 48,500 to 51 ,500 g/mol or from 49,000 to 51 ,000 g/mol (according to the GPC method described herein). In the case of a blend of PPSU (co)polymers, the PPSU polymer having a Mw ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol in used as a major component in the polymer blend, for example in an amount of at least 50 wt.%, for example at least 55 wt.% or at least 60 wt.%, based on the total weight of the polymeric component.

[0052] The poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) can be prepared by any method known in the art. It can for example result from the condensation of 4,4'-dihydroxybiphenyl (biphenol) and 4,4'-dichlorodiphenyl sulfone. The reaction of monomer units takes place through nucleophilic aromatic substitution with the elimination of one unit of hydrogen halide as leaving group. It is to be noted however that the structure of the resulting poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) does not depend on the nature of the leaving group.

[0053] Defects, end groups and monomers' impurities may be incorporated in very minor amounts in the (co)polymer (PPSU) of the present disclosure, so as to advantageously not affecting negatively the performances of the same.

[0054] PPSU is commercially available as Radel® PPSU from Solvay Specialty Polymers USA, L.L.C.

[0055] According to the present disclosure, the part material comprises a

polymeric component which comprises a poly(biphenyl ether

sulfone) (PPSU), having a Mw ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, for example from 48,500 to 51 ,500 g/mol or from 49,000 to 51 ,000 g/mol (according to the GPC method described herein).

[0056] According to one embodiment, the part material comprises a polymeric component which comprises at least 60 wt.% of such poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer(s) (PPSU), for example, at least 70 wt.%, at least 75 wt.%, at least 80 wt.%, at least 85 wt.%, at least 90 wt.%, at least 95 wt.% or at least 99 wt.%, based on the total weight of the polymeric component of the part material.

[0057] According to another embodiment, the part material comprises a polymeric component which consists essentially in a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (co)polymer(s) (PPSU) as defined above.

[0058] The weight average molecular weight (Mw) of the PPSU (co)polymer can be determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase, with polystyrene standards.

[0059] The polymers can be characterized by their weight average molecular weight (Mw), and they can also be characterized by their polydispersity index ("PDI" or "PDI index" herewith), also called sometimes

polymolecularity index. The PDI index corresponds to the molar weight distribution of the various macromolecules within the polymer. The PDI index corresponds to the ratio Mw/Mn, Mn being the number average molecular weight and determined by GPC.

[0060] According to the present disclosure, the weight average molecular

weight Mw of the PPSU polymer is from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, for example from 48,500 to 51 ,500 g/mol or from 49,000 to 51 ,000 g/mol.

[0061] According to another embodiment of the present disclosure, the PDI index of the PPSU polymer is from 1.8 to 2.5.

[0062] The weight average molecular weight (Mw) of the PPSU (co)polymer can be more precisely determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and the following GPC configuration: 2x 5μ mixed D columns with guard column from Agilent Technologies ; flow rate: 1.5 mL/min; injection volume: 20 μΙ_ of a 0.2w/v% sample solution.

[0063] More precisely, the weight average molecular weight (Mw) of the PPSU (co)polymer can be measured by gel permeation chromatography (GPC), using methylene chloride as the mobile phase. In the experimental part, the following method was used: two 5μ mixed D columns with guard column from Agilent Technologies were used for separation. An ultraviolet detector of 254nm was used to obtain the chromatogram. A flow rate of 1.5ml/min and injection volume of 20 μΙ_ of a 0.2w/v% solution in mobile phase was selected. Calibration was performed with 12 narrow molecular weight polystyrene standards (Peak molecular weight range: 371 ,000 to 580 g/mol). The weight average molecular weight (Mw) was reported.

[0064] According to an embodiment of the present disclosure, the part material comprises:

- a polymeric component which comprises a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) having a Mw ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, for example from 48,500 to 51 ,500 g/mol or from 49,000 to 51 ,000 g/mol (according to the GPC method described herein), and

- from 0 to 30 wt.%, from 0.5 to 28 wt.% or from 1 to 25 wt.% of at least one additive selected from the group consisting of fillers, colorants, lubricants, plasticizers, flame retardants, nucleating agents, flow

enhancers and stabilizers, based on the total weight of the part material. [0065] According to another embodiment of the present disclosure, the part material comprises:

- a polymeric component which comprises a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) having a Mw ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol, for example from 48,500 to 51 ,500 g/mol or from 49,000 to 51 ,000 g/mol and a PDI index from 1.8 and 2.5 (according to the GPC method described herein), and

- from 0 to 30 wt.%, from 0.5 to 28 wt.% or from 1 to 25 wt.% of at least one additive selected from the group consisting of fillers, colorants, lubricants, plasticizers, flame retardants, nucleating agents, flow

enhancers and stabilizers, based on the total weight of the part material.

[0066] Such part material presents, when used to manufacture 3D objects, a good mechanical property profile (i.e. tensile strength, tensile elongation and impact resistance) over a PPSU polymer of higher or lower Mw.

[0067] The part material of the present disclosure can be made by methods well known to the person of ordinary skill in the art. For example, such methods include, but are not limited to, melt-mixing processes. Melt- mixing processes are typically carried out by heating the polymer components above the melting temperature of the thermoplastic polymers thereby forming a melt of the thermoplastic polymers. In some

embodiments, the processing temperature ranges from about 280-450°C, preferably from about 290-440°C, from about 300-430°C or from about 310-420°C. Suitable melt-mixing apparatus are, for example, kneaders, Banbury mixers, single-screw extruders, and twin-screw extruders.

Preferably, use is made of an extruder fitted with means for dosing all the desired components to the extruder, either to the extruder's throat or to the melt. In the process for the preparation of the part material, the

components of the part material, i.e. PPSU and optionally additives, are fed to the melt-mixing apparatus and melt-mixed in that apparatus. The components may be fed simultaneously as a powder mixture or granule mixer, also known as dry-blend, or may be fed separately.

[0068] The order of combining the components during melt-mixing is not

particularly limited. In one embodiment, the component can be mixed in a single batch, such that the desired amounts of each component are added together and subsequently mixed. In other embodiments, a first sub-set of components can be initially mixed together and one or more of the remaining components can be added to the mixture for further mixing. For clarity, the total desired amount of each component does not have to be mixed as a single quantity. For example, for one or more of the

components, a partial quantity can be initially added and mixed and, subsequently, some or all of the remainder can be added and mixed.

[0069] Filament material

[0070] The present disclosure also relates to a filament material comprising a polymeric component comprising at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation

chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards).

[0071] This filament material is well-suited for use in a method of making a three- dimensional object.

[0072] All of the embodiments described above with respect to the part material do apply equally to the filament material.

[0073] As an example, the filament material of the disclosure may include other components. For example the filament material may comprise at least one additive, notably at least one additive selected from the group consisting of fillers, colorants, lubricants, plasticizers, stabilizers, flame retardants, nucleating agents, flow enhancers and combinations thereof.

[0074] The filament may have a cylindrical or substantially cylindrical geometry, or may have a non-cylindrical geometry, such as a ribbon filament geometry; further, filament may have a hollow geometry, or may have a core-shell geometry, with the support material of the present disclosure being used to form either the core or the shell.

[0075] When the filament has a cylindrical geometry, its diameter may vary

between 0.5 mm and 5 mm, for example between 0.8 and 4 mm or for example between 1 mm and 3.5 mm. The diameter of the filament can be chosen to feed a specific FFF 3D printer. An example of filament diameter used extensively in FFF process is 1.75 mm or 2.85 mm diameter. A good control of the filament size with a reduced standard deviation can be obtained with the PPSU polymer of the present invention. Notably, the filament can have a cylindrical geometry and a diameter comprised between 0.5 and 5 mm ± 0.15 mm, for example between 0.8 and 4 mm ± 0.1 mm or for example between 1 and 3.5 mm ± 0.08 mm.

[0076] The filament of the present disclosure can be made from the part material by methods including, but not limited to, melt-mixing processes. Melt- mixing processes are typically carried out by heating the polymer components above the highest melting temperature and glass transition temperature of the thermoplastic polymers thereby forming a melt of the thermoplastic polymers. In some embodiments, the processing

temperature ranges from about 280-450°C, preferably from about

290-440°C, from about 300-430°C or from about 310-420°C.

[0077] The process for the preparation of the filament can be carried out in a

melt-mixing apparatus, for which any melt-mixing apparatus known to the one skilled in the art of preparing polymer compositions by melt mixing can be used. Suitable melt-mixing apparatus are, for example, kneaders, Banbury mixers, single-screw extruders, and twin-screw extruders.

Preferably, use is made of an extruder fitted with means for dosing all the desired components to the extruder, either to the extruder's throat or to the melt. In the process for the preparation of the filament, the components of the part material, i.e. at least PPSU and optionally additives, are fed to the melt-mixing apparatus and melt-mixed in that apparatus. The components may be fed simultaneously as a powder mixture or granule mixer, also known as dry-blend, or may be fed separately.

[0078] The order of combining the components during melt-mixing is not

particularly limited. In one embodiment, the component can be mixed in a single batch, such that the desired amounts of each component are added together and subsequently mixed. In other embodiments, a first sub-set of components can be initially mixed together and one or more of the remaining components can be added to the mixture for further mixing. For clarity, the total desired amount of each component does not have to be mixed as a single quantity. For example, for one or more of the

components, a partial quantity can be initially added and mixed and, subsequently, some or all of the remainder can be added and mixed.

[0079] The method of making the filaments also comprises a step of extrusion, for example with a die. For this purpose, any standard molding technique can be used; standard techniques including shaping the polymer compositions in a molten/softened form can be advantageously applied, and include notably compression molding, extrusion molding, injection molding, transfer molding and the like. Extrusion molding is preferred. Dies may be used to shape the articles, for example a die having a circular orifice if the article is a filament of cylindrical geometry.

[0080] The method may comprise if needed several successive steps of melt- mixing or extrusion under different conditions.

[0081] The process itself, or each step of the process if relevant, may also

comprise a step consisting in a cooling of the molten mixture.

[0082] Support material

The method of the present disclosure may also employ another polymeric component to support the 3D object under construction. This polymeric component, similar or distinct from the part material used to build a 3D object, is hereby called support material. Support material may be required during 3D printing to provide vertical and/or lateral support in the higher operating conditions required for the high-temperature part materials (e.g. PPSU requiring a processing temperature around

320-400°C).

[0083] The support material, possibly used in the context of the present method, advantageously possesses a high melting temperature (i.e. above 260°C), in order to resist high temperature applications. The support material may also possess a water absorption behaviour or a solubility in water at a temperature lower than 1 10°C, in order sufficiently swell or deform upon exposure to moisture.

[0084] According to an embodiment of the present disclosure, the method of

making a three-dimensional object using an additive manufacturing system further comprises the steps of: - providing a support material,

- printing layers of a support structure from the support material, and

- removing at least a portion of the support structure from the three- dimensional object.

[0085] A variety of polymeric components can be used as a support material.

Notably, support material can comprise polyamides or copolyamides, such as for example the ones described in co-pending US provisional application # 62/316,835 and co-pending US provisional

application # 62/419,035.

[0086] Applications

[0087] The present disclosure also relates to the use of a part material comprising a polymeric component comprising at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation

chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards), for the manufacture of three-dimensional objects using an additive manufacturing system, for example FFF, SLS or FRTP printing methods.

[0088] The present disclosure also relates to the use of a filament material

comprising a polymeric component comprising at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards), for the manufacture of three-dimensional objects, for example using an additive manufacturing system, for example FFF, SLS or FRTP printing methods.

[0089] All of the embodiments described above with respect to the part material do apply equally to the use of the part material or the use of the filament material.

[0090] The present disclosure also relates to the use of a part material comprising a polymeric component comprising at least one poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) having a weight average molecular weight (Mw) ranging from 48,000 to 52,000 g/mol (as determined by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) using methylene chloride as a mobile phase and polystyrene standards), for the manufacture of a filament for use in the manufacture of three-dimensional objects, for example using an additive manufacturing system, for example FFF, SLS or FRTP printing methods.

[0091] The present disclosure also relates to 3D objects or 3D articles obtainable, at least in part, from the method of making 3D object(s) of the present disclosure, using the part material herein described. These 3D objects or 3D articles present a density comparable to injection molded objects or articles. They also present comparable or improved mechanical properties, notably impact strength (or impact resistance, for example notched impact resistance), stiffness (measured as the modulus of elasticity), tensile strength or elongation.

[0092] The 3D objects or articles obtainable by such method of making can be used in a variety of final applications. Mention can be made in particular of implantable device, dental prostheses, brackets and complex shaped parts in the aerospace industry and under-the-hood parts in the automotive industry.

[0093] Should the disclosure of any patents, patent applications, and publications which are incorporated herein by reference conflict with the description of the present application to the extent that it may render a term unclear, the present description shall take precedence.

EXAMPLES

[0094] The disclosure will be now described in more detail with reference to the following examples, whose purpose is merely illustrative and not intended to limit the scope of the disclosure.

[0095] Starting Materials

[0096] The following polymers were used to prepare filaments of examples 1

and 2:

[0097] PPSU #1 : a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) with a Mw of

50,500 g/mol, prepared according to the following process:

The synthesis of the PPSU was achieved by the reaction in a 1 L flask of 83.8 g of 4,4'-biphenol (0.450 mol), 131.17 g of 4,4'-dichlorodiphenyl sulfone (0.457 mol) dissolved in a mixture of 400 g of sulfolane with the addition of 66.5g (0.481 mol) of dry K 2 CO 3 .

The reaction mixture was heated up to 210 °C and maintained at this temperature until the polymer had the expected Mw. An excess of methyl chloride was then added to the reaction.

The reaction mixture was diluted with 600 g of MCB. The poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) was recovered by filtration of the salts, coagulation, washing and drying. The GPC analysis showed a number average molecular weight (Mw) of 50,500 g/mol, an average molecular weight (Mn) of 21 ,500 g/mol and PDI index is 2.35.

[0098] PPSU #2: a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) with a Mw

of 46,500 g/mol, a Mn of 19,200 g/mol and a PDI index of 2.48, prepared according to the same process than PPSU #1 , except that the reaction was stopped earlier. PPSU #2 corresponds to Radel® R 5600 NT described in example 3 of US 2002/0017743 (Modeling Material).

[0099] PPSU #3: a poly(biphenyl ether sulfone) (PPSU) with a Mw

of 55,000 g/mol, a Mn of 22,000 g/mol and PDI index is 2.5, prepared according to the same process than PPSU #1 , except that the reaction was stopped later.

[00100] Filament Preparation

Filaments of diameter of 1.75 ± 0.07 mm were prepared for each polymer above prepared, using a Brabender® Intelli-Torque Plasti-Corde® Torque Rheometer extruder equipped with a 0.75" 32 L/D general purpose single screw, a filament head adapter, a 2.5-mm nozzle and ESI-Extrusion Services downstream equipment comprising a cooling tank, a belt puller, and a Dual Station Coiler. A Beta LaserMike® DataPro 1000 was used to monitor filament dimensions. The melt strands were cooled with air. The Brabender® zone set point temperatures were as follows: zone 1 , 350°C; zone 2, 340°C; zones 3 and 4, 330°C. The Brabender® speed ranged from 30 to 50 rpm and the puller speed from 23 to 37 fpm.

A good control of the filament size with a reduced standard deviation can be obtained with the exemplified PPSU. [00101] Test methods

[00102] * Weight a verage molecular weight (Mw) and number a verage molecular weight (Mn) of the PPSU polymers

[00103] The molecular weight was measured by gel permeation chromatography (GPC), using methylene chloride as a mobile phase. Two 5μ mixed D columns with guard column from Agilent Technologies were used for separation. An ultraviolet detector of 254nm was used to obtain the chromatogram. A flow rate of 1.5 ml/min and injection volume of 20 μΙ_ of a 0.2 w/v% solution in mobile phase was selected. Calibration was performed with 12 narrow molecular weight polystyrene standards (Peak molecular weight range: 371 ,000 to 580 g/mol). The weight average molecular weight (Mw) and number average molecular weight (Mn) was reported.

[00104] * Printing quality and Impact strength

Notched impact strength was determined according to the ASTM D256 method using a 2-ftlb hammer.

[00105] * Tensile strength

Tensile strength and modulus were determined according to the

ASTM D638 method with Type V bars.

The test bars (according to the present disclosure or comparative) and their mechanical properties are reported in Table 1 below (5 test bars/mean value).

[00106] Example 1 - Printing with Indmatec® HPP 155 3D printer

[00107] Fused Filament Fabrication bars (FFF bars)

Test bars (i.e. ASTM D638Type V bars) were printed from the above filaments of 1.75 mm in diameter on an Indmatec® HPP 155 3D printer equipped with a 0.6 mm diameter nozzle. Bars were oriented in the XY direction on the build platform during printing. Test bars were printed with a 10 mm-wide brim and three perimeters. The tool path was a cross-hatch pattern with a 45° angle with respect to the long axis of the part. The build plate temperature for all bars was 100°C. The nozzle and extruder temperature was 385°C. The speed of the nozzle was varied from 8 to 18 mm/s. The first layer height in each case was 0.3 mm, with subsequent layers deposited at 0.1 mm height and 100% fill density.

Table 1

[00108] NR: non relevant

[00109] The printing quality is assessed according to the Notched Impact test and the type of break obtained therefrom:

(-) means that the sample presents inter-layer delamination;

(+) means that the sample breaks according to a pattern similar to injection molded parts.

[001 10] As shown in Table 1 , it was not possible to print test bars of reasonable quality by FFF using filaments of PPSU #3. PPSU #3 exceeds the critical molecular weight Mw and cannot be printed by FFF; the values of the mechanical properties of such bars are therefore non relevant (NR).

[001 1 1 ] The test bars of example 1 (obtained by FFF with a filament of PPSU

having a Mw of 50,500 g/mol) exhibit a modulus of elasticity, an elongation at break and an impact resistance that are higher than the test bars of example 2 (obtained by FFF with a filament of PPSU of lower Mw, 46,500 g/mol), while maintaining a good printability. [001 12] The PPSU polymer having a Mw of 50,500 g/mol is therefore well-suited to the requirements of Fused Filament Fabrication according to the present disclosure.

[001 13] Example 2 - Printing with Hyrel® Hydra 430 3D printer

[001 14] Fused Filament Fabrication bars (FFF bars)

Test bars (i.e. ASTM D638Type V bars) were printed from filaments of 1 .75 mm in diameter on a Hyrel Hydra 430 3D printer equipped with a 0.5 mm diameter nozzle. Bars were oriented in the XY direction on the build platform during printing. Test bars were printed with a 10 mm-wide brim and three perimeters, according to ASTM Additive Manufacturing standard F2971 -13. The tool path was a cross-hatch pattern with a 45° angle with respect to the long axis of the part. The build plate temperature for all bars was 180°C. The nozzle and extruder temperature was 385°C. The speed of the nozzle was 20 mm/s for the first layer and 40 mm/s for subsequent layers. The first layer height in each case was 0.1 mm, with subsequent layers deposited at 0.1 mm height and 100% fill density.

Table 2

[001 15] The test bars of example 4 (obtained by FFF with a filament of PPSU

having a Mw of 50,500 g/mol) under different printing conditions exhibits a very good elongation and tensile strength at break, as well as an impact resistance which are similar to the performances of parts obtained by injection molding.