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Selective Laser Sintering - an Overview

SpecialChem / Mar 11, 2008

Selective Laser Sintering is a process that was patented in 1989 by Carl Deckard, a University of Texas graduate student and SLS is a registered trademark by DTM of Austin, Texas, USA. Selective laser sintering (SLS) is one of the most rapidly growing rapid prototyping techniques (RPT). This is mainly due to its suitability to process almost any material: polymers, metals, ceramics (including foundry sand) and many types of composites. Many varying materials are possible and these materials can approximate the properties of thermoplastics such as polycarbonate, nylon, or glass-filled nylon. Theoretically, any thermoplastic can be used as a powder. However, the SLS process imposes such stringent conditions that the number of commercialised thermoplastics is limited. Best known is nylon 12 (PA12). Less well known is a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE)powder which produces rubber prototypes. The material should be supplied as powder that may occasionally contain a sacrificial polymer binder that has to be removed (debinded) afterwards.

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