|A scanning electron microscope image shows the characteristics of Ticona's sintered porous macropowder.|
When customers spoke of an unmet material need in the market, Ticona listened. The company maintains that its porous plastic powder enables the development of high-strength sintered parts that achieve a high flow rate while reducing pressure drop. "Until now, this was not possible; there wasn't such a product available on the market," says Ramesh Srinivasan, global segment manager for GUR porous at Ticona.
Optimized for filter design, GUR X 192 very-high-molecular-weight polyethylene powder can be shaped and sintered into highly porous parts. Whereas traditional materials can yield pore sizes ranging from roughly 5 to 100 µm, the GUR X 102 powder is characterized by pore sizes from 100 to 205 µm, according to Srinivasan.
"This allows [engineers] to process fluids that have a higher viscosity; therefore, they would need a higher pore size," he says. "There are a lot of applications where they were previously limited because the pore sizes were so small and the pressure drop across the filters was so high. Now, they're able to increase the efficiency of some of the devices they produce." For medical device designers, higher pore sizes could benefit components for filtering or purifying liquids or gases outside of the body.
The powder's ability to produce higher pore sizes also paves the way for more innovative filtration products, Srinivasan says. By allowing for composite sintering, the macropowder can facilitate the design of a gradient filter in the same material, for example. "You can now design materials with pore-size gradients across the thickness of the material," Srinivasan suggests. "If you had a disk or a sheet that's ¼ in. in size, it could go from 100 µm on one side down to 10 µm on the other."
Additional advantages of the material include increased quality and consistency, reduced processing time and cost, and no scrap, according to the company. It also features a porosity of 47% and a bulk density of 0.3 g/ml.
"People now have an opportunity to expand their envelope of filters," Srinivasan concludes. "This product ultimately gives designers another tool in their toolbox."