ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a popular 3D printing thermoplastic with unique qualities. It is also one of the most commonly used materials in FDM desktop 3D printers worldwide.
ABS filament has many exciting uses, including guitar picks, clips, and fixtures for holding electrical components. ABS filaments are typically inexpensive, and they are easily accessible.
- Melting Point of ABS Filament
- Is ABS Filament Heat Resistant?
- Will ABS Melt in a Car?
- Will ABS Melt in the Sun?
- What Temp Does ABS Soften?
- Is ABS Harder Than PLA?
- Does ABS or PLA Have a Higher Melting Point?
- ABS Mechanical Properties
- Is ABS or PLA Easier to Print?
- Is ABS More Toxic Than PLA?
- Measures to Reduce ABS Toxicity
Melting Point of ABS Filament
Printing with ABS filaments is a rewarding experience once you have familiarized yourself with the basics. Despite its popularity, there have been questions about the melting point of ABS filament.
Read on for more information on how ABS filament interacts with other materials in your printer and some essential things you need to know about its melting point.
Is ABS Filament Heat Resistant?
While ABS is considered less heat resistant than materials such as ASA, it has high heat tolerance that satisfies most of its applications.
The material should withstand temperatures up to 100°C since the plastic starts softening at 105°C.
The material properties of ABS make it amorphous, preventing it from liquidating, and instead, it softens. ABS starts deforming upon further temperature increases, and the final print gets ruined.
Since ABS filaments have different heat resistance capabilities, it would be wise to consult the packaging instructions or the manufacturer’s website for more precise details.
Will ABS Melt in a Car?
ABS is amorphous and, therefore, has no melting point. Instead, it has a 3D printing temperature of about 230 – 270°C and a glass transition temperature of 200 °C (392 °F).
This temperature is much higher than the boiling point of water, thus, allowing ABS filaments to withstand as much car heat without melting.
Will ABS Melt in the Sun?
It would help if you considered the heat resistance of ABS in the sun along with UV radiation emitted.
ABS has less UV resistance compared to other filaments like ASA.
Therefore, when ABS printed materials are overexposed to direct sunlight, they can get discolored or brittle. Nevertheless, these parts can still function properly for extended periods.
ABS also has high thermal stability, which makes it heat resistant. This feature also protects it from melting even if the car is situated in high-temperature environments.
However, some conditions could be too overwhelming to reach these extreme temperatures. In such scenarios, you are advised to use a color-changing filament.
What Temp Does ABS Soften?
ABS begins softening at a temperature of 105˚C (378K), slightly above that of water.
Is ABS Harder Than PLA?
A PLA filament has a similar tensile strength to ABS, making these two materials perfect for prototypes.
ABS has higher elasticity than PLA, giving it more flexural strength and a higher breaking point.
Strength makes ABS more suitable for various end-use applications where the form of the product is more valuable than its function.
ABS is also impact resistant allowing it to absorb vibrations better than Polylactic acid (PLA) even at a lower temperature.
Does ABS or PLA Have a Higher Melting Point?
The glass transition temperature of PLA lies between 50 and 80 °C, while that of ABS is about 200°C.
Hence, ABS has a higher melting point even though it’s amorphous and thus, doesn’t melt.
ABS Mechanical Properties
Common ABS Thermoplastic Applications
ABS plastic material has multiple qualifying properties that make it suitable for various applications, including:
- 3D Building Material
- Pipes and Fittings
- Automotive Industry
- Vacuum Construction
- Machine Prototype Construction
3D Building Material
ABS is a more suitable 3D printing material for professionals due to its high melting temperature compared to PLA.
This feature makes it possible to store printed objects in warmer atmospheres than PLA.
Furthermore, it has higher tensile and flexural strengths making it less prone to damage.
Pipes and Fittings
ABS is preferable for pipes and fittings to some plastics and metals. Because it’s a plastic material, it’s inexpensive to install compared to metal piping and is a much easier option to integrate.
It can also resist mechanical damage due to its tensile and flexural strengths and doesn’t corrode, rust or rot. ABS pipings have a smooth interior finish that facilitates excellent flow and doesn’t collect waste.
The ABS material can also withstand heavy loads, provided it’s handled the right way and takes more time to rough in than metal materials.
Finally, it is lightweight and can function at high operational temperatures of 70°C.
Vehicles that use ABS plastic in their parts are considered lighter by about 10%. ABS plastic weighs less than other plastics, decreasing the car’s weight, thus making the vehicle more fuel sufficient.
ABS plastic is also used for steering wheel covers and dashboards due to its low-temperature resistance, considerable strength, and scratch-resistance qualities.
ABS plastic is an excellent raw material for making vacuums and their designated parts.
The plastic sheeting designed from ABS is rigid and more durable than other plastics and can be produced in a wide range of custom colors.
ABS material is also scratch-resistant, making it suitable for heavy-duty activities.
Machine Prototype Construction
Because ABS is amorphous and has a low melting temperature, it is easily produced through injection molding and can be efficiently shaped into various designs compared to other plastics.
This attractive feature makes ABS suitable for prototyping as its sheets are easier to paint and more economical due to the low cost.
Is ABS or PLA Easier to Print?
PLA and ABS are both standard FDM printed filaments with similar costs. Even though ABS has better mechanical properties than PLS, it’s still harder to print and is prone to warping.
Because of its low operation temperature, PLA is preferred for finely detailed parts, making the plastic ideal for prints involving aesthetics.
On the other hand, ABS is well suited for applications that require a durable and robust material with appreciable thermal stability and machinability.
Is ABS More Toxic Than PLA?
3D printing typically works by heating plastic and layering the melts to create an object.
Heating these plastics releases reactive compounds into the atmosphere forming very fine particles. It’s not the smell of these fumes that’s a problem; it’s the toxicity in them.
ABS is a petroleum-based and non-biodegradable plastic.
On the other hand, PLA is sourced from renewable resources such as corn starch and sugarcane. These properties make ABS more toxic than PLA.
Similarly, ABS has a higher melting point than PLA, requiring a higher temperature for the heated bed than PLA filaments.
Therefore, the hotter the melting temperature is, the more emissions a printer will produce, and ABS emits more toxicity than PLS.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that using PLA filament instead of ABS keeps you safe. PLA filament fumes are just as toxic, if not more, than ABS.
Necessary precautions should be taken to deal with the fumes emitted during 3D printing with both these plastics.
Measures to Reduce ABS Toxicity
It’s always recommended that you 3D print your projects in a well-ventilated room. A sound air ventilation system can regulate the atmosphere in the room.
Similarly, filtration systems should be used with 3D closed-chamber printers. For example, a HEPA filter can absorb very fine particles in the air, efficiently reducing the number of compounds you inhale.
Active carbon used in these filters attracts the fumes and removes all kinds of odor from the heated plastic.
When it comes to 3D printing, you should expect an experience like no other. This technology is destined to revolutionize the future positively.
Still, some drawbacks need addressing lest they pull back the progress made.
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