3M has shared the results of an independent study into the compatibility of 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids for precision cleaning of additive manufacturing (AM) materials. The study, conducted by Added Scientific in the spring of 2022, found that Novec 71IPA fluid showed the highest compatibility with all ten materials tested, in comparison to Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA). There was no structural damage to the materials tested at Novec71IPA’s boiling point and only minor swelling observed.
Said Rudi Van San, Senior Application Engineer, Novec fluid, 3M: “AM — or 3D printing — has many benefits, enabling manufacturers to scale processes and explore innovative ideas. Even the tiniest amount of residue could lead to problems or even product failure. Since AM is expected to be widely used in mission and safety-critical applications, superior surface preparation has to be a priority.”
Added Scientific — an independent, technology-agnostic AM and 3D printing contract research company — conducted extensive testing across AM resins, alloy powders, polymer powders, and polymer filaments. The two 3M Novec fluids (Novec 71IPA and Novec 73DE) were tested at their respective boiling points, using three samples per AM material and submerged for seven days. While 3M commissioned the study, the findings were wholly independent and unbiased. In addition to 3M Novec 71IPA fluid scoring highest across all ten materials tested, 3M™ Novec™ 73DE Engineered Fluid was also found to be compatible with some AM parts constructed from polymeric powders and all metallic powders (including titanium).
Rudi Van San added, “We are delighted by the results of this study, providing consistent data to continue proposing 3M Novec fluids for AM component cleaning. Anecdotally, we already hear from the market that Novec fluid is being used in AM processes, so this study provides those users with the confidence that it is the right choice. We continue to engage with the industry to develop best practices for AM component cleaning, sharing our experience and science-based knowledge.”
3M Novec fluids have been long-established for cleaning in manufacturing, from design and assembly to maintenance. They are widely used in mission and safety-critical applications, such as aerospace and medical devices. Suitable for vapour degreasing, spray cleaning and hand-wipe applications, Novec fluids evaporate quickly without leaving residue, penetrate tight spaces efficiently, and — when used in vapour phase cleaning equipment — consume less power and reduced fluid refill when compared to other processes.