3M Novec Cleaning Fluids Undergo Further Scientific Study for Additive Manufacturing Materials


3M Novec Technical Fluids for precision cleaning of additive manufacturing materials have been the subject of an independent study conducted by Scientist added.

Conducted in the spring of 2022, the study found that Novec 71IPA fluid had the highest compatibility with ten different materials compared to isopropyl alcohol (IPA). According to 3M, there was no structural damage in material testing at the boiling point of Novec 71IPA, with only minor swelling observed.

3M Novec fluids are often used for cleaning missions and safety-critical applications in markets such as aerospace and medical. They are suitable for vapor degreasing, spray cleaning and hand wiping applications as Novec fluid evaporates quickly leaving no residue. Novec fluids can also penetrate tight spaces effectively, and when used in vapor phase cleaning equipment, consume less energy and reduce fluid refill compared to other processes.

As aerospace and medical are two of the largest additive manufacturing markets, 3M sought to assess the effectiveness of its Novec fluids for 3D printing materials by commissioning an independent study. During the Added Scientific study, extensive testing was performed with Novec 71IPA and Novec 73DE on resins, polymer filaments, polymer powders, and alloy powders. Both fluids were tested at their respective boiling points, using three samples per AM material and submerged for seven days. 3M Novec 71IPA received the highest score among the ten materials, while 3M Novec 73DE engineering fluid was found to be “compatible with certain AM parts constructed from polymer powders and all metal powders, including titanium “.

“AM has many benefits, allowing manufacturers to scale processes and explore innovative ideas,” commented Rudi Van San, senior application engineer, Novec Fluid, 3M. “Even the tiniest amount of residue can lead to problems or even product failure. Since AM is expected to be widely used in missions and security-critical applications, superior surface preparation should be a priority.

“We are pleased with the results of this study, which provides consistent data to continue to offer 3M Novec fluids for cleaning AM components. Anecdotally, we are already learning from the market that Novec fluid is used in AM processes, so this study gives those users confidence that this is the right choice. We continue to engage with the industry to develop best practices for cleaning AM components, sharing our experience and scientific knowledge.

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