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A Guide to Nylon PA11 and PA12

By <a href="https://mfg.trimech.com/author/sarah-case/" target="_self">Sarah Smith</a>

By Sarah Smith

Posted on January 16, 2023

In this article we will look at powder bed 3D printing technology and how the two main powder materials on the market, Nylon PA11 and PA12 differ.

Powder bed printers create nearly isotropic parts, due to the fusion technology. This results in strong and durable parts. Stratasys’ Selective Absorption Fusing (SAF) technology jets an infrared absorbing fluid onto a powder bed build chamber and cures it with an infrared lamp. The fluid absorbs the energy and fuses the part. This energy absorption reduces the chance of heating surrounding powder and therefore reduces the chance for warp.

The process works well for 3D printing bulky parts such as molds, jigs, fixtures, adapters, brackets, housings, and fit and function testing prototypes.  But this technology can also print with detailed resolution and both materials offer high quality, good rebound, durability, and surface finish.

Composition

The Nylon PA powder is a polyamide, a semi-crystalline thermoplastic. The following number is simply an indicator of how many carbon atoms are in the material composition.

PA11 powder is derived from castor oil and is 100% bio-based, making it an eco-friendly material, an outlier in 3D printing thermoplastic options. If your company has green initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint this could be an excellent option.

SAF PA11 end use saddle seat part

SAF Nylon PA 11

PA12 is created with petroleum. However, both PA11 and PA12 materials have the option to reclaim and recycle unused powder back into the next build.

SAF Nylon PA12 part

SAF Nylon PA 12

Properties of PA11 and PA12

PA11 has superior ductility and impact resistance. This means It can stretch and flex without losing its toughness and dissipate a lot of energy upon impact.

PropertyMeanStandard DeviationUnitStandard
Tensile Strength (XZ,YX)51 (7397)2.2 (319)MPa (psi)ASTM D638-14
Tensile Strength (ZX)47 (6817)4.4 (638)MPa (psi)ASTM D638-14
Elongation at Break (XZ,YX)305.6%ASTM D638-14
Elongation at Break (ZX)114.8%ASTM D638-14
Offset Yield Strength (XZ,YX)35 (5076)1.6 (232)MPa (psi)ASTM D638-14
Offset Yield Strength (ZX)34 (4931)2.5 (363)MPa (psi)ASTM D638-14
Tensile Modulus (XZ,YX)1529 (222)76 (11)MPa (ksi)ASTM D638-14
Tensile Modulus (ZX)1609 (233)99 (14)MPa (ksi)ASTM D638-14
Flexural Strength (XZ,YX)35 (5033)2.3 (327)MPa (psi)ASTM D790-17
Flexural Strength (ZX)36 (5280)2.9 (414)MPa (psi)ASTM D790-17
Flexural Modulus (XZ,YX)826 (120)65 (9.5)MPa (ksi)ASTM D790-17
Flexural Modulus (ZX)885 (128)79 (11.5)MPa (ksi)ASTM D790-17
Notched Impact Strength (XZ,YX)PendingkJ/m (Ft.lbf/in)ASTM D256-10
Notched Impact Strength (ZX)PendingkJ/m
(Ft.lbf/in )
ASTM D256-10

PA12 is stiffer and can withstand temperature changes. The stiffness lends itself to reliable printing and the parts can hold up in freezing conditions.

PropertyMeanUnitStandard
Tensile Strength (XZ,YX)47 (6817)MPa (psi)ASTM D638-14
Tensile Strength (ZX)46 (6672))MPa (psi)ASTM D638-14
Elongation at Break (XZ,YX)11%ASTM D638-14
Elongation at Break (ZX)5%ASTM D638-14
0.2% Offset Yield Strength (XZ,YX)33.5 (4859)MPa (psi)ASTM D638-14
0.2% Offset Yield Strength (ZX)32.2 (4670)MPa (psi)ASTM D638-14
Tensile Modulus (XZ,YX)1750 (254)MPa (ksi)ASTM D638-14
Tensile Modulus (ZX)1700 (247)MPa (ksi)ASTM D638-14
Flexural Strength (XZ,YX)40 (5801)MPa (psi)ASTM D790-17
Flexural Strength (ZX)41 (5946)MPa (psi)ASTM D790-17
Flexural Modulus (XZ,YX)900 (131)MPa (ksi)ASTM D790-17
Flexural Modulus (ZX)925 (134)MPa (ksi)ASTM D790-17
Notched Impact Strength (XZ,YX)4.17 (1.98)kJ/m2 (Ft.lbf/in)ASTM D256-10
Notched Impact Strength (ZX)3.36 (1.60)kJ/m2 (Ft.lbf/in)ASTM D256-10

Applications

PA11 is typically used for demanding applications in the automotive industry and for prototypes that need to undergo long term mechanical use. Since this material offers excellent ductility, impact resistance, chemical resistance, and high elongation at break, it’s a good fit for insoles, snap closures, and living hinges.

PA12 is widely used in prototyping due to its functionality, heat resistance, and chemical resistance. Parts can be used for fit and function testing prior to moving into injection molding. Features such as snap closures living hinges can also be achieved. Its biocompatibility allows for use in prosthetics. Overall, it’s a good option for robust low-cost high-quality robust parts.

Article by <a href="https://mfg.trimech.com/author/sarah-case/" target="_self">Sarah Smith</a>

Article by Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is a Hardware Products Marketing Specialist for the TriMech Advanced Manufacturing business