What is the thermal conductivity of various 3D printing filaments?

  • Thermal conductivity is how well a plastic conducts heat. Most plastics don't conduct heat very well at all, which is what allows them to be 3D printed. That being said, there are a lot of potential use cases for highly thermally conductive filament, assuming you could print them. A commonly discussed one is computer heatsinks. Similar heatsinks could also be used for stepper motors and extruders in 3d printing.



    To get a good picture which plastics are useful in such an application (like mentioned in question: "Water-cooling stepper motor with aluminum block"), I need to know what is the thermal conductivity of the commonly used thermoplastics.


    Answering your own question is a win/win situation for everyone ... however, you should edit your "question" and actually make it a question to conform to how the Q & A actually works. Ask the question within the question, making the body of the question for specifics about the question, then leave a comment about the rest of the fluff. Just a suggestion.

    Just infuse the plastic with diamond dust :-) . (If this were possible, it would probably work very well. Diamond is a fantastic thermal conductor)

    I wonder how it would compare to the graphite / graphene / carbon nanotubes values listed below

  • K Mmmm

    K Mmmm Correct answer

    3 years ago

    All values are in W/(m*K).




    • PLA: 0.13

    • HIPS: 0.20

    • ABS: 0.25

    • PETG: 0.29

    • PEEK: 0.25

    • PLA with copper: 0.25 (see discussion)

    • PETG with 40% graphite: 1.70 (ansiotropic)

    • TCPoly: 15

    • Steel (not a 3dprintable plastic): 10 - 50



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    what is the source of Table 1 and 4?

    Do you have a source for the amazing performance of TCPoly that's not their marketing materials? :-)

    I'm sorry I havent provided the source for the tables yet. I meant to originally, it just slipped my mind. It's a review of thermoplastic polymers that I havent been able to refind.

    And nah I dont know much about TCPoly, except that its base is TPU. If i had to guess, it's TPU and either graphite or carbon nanotubes. Most filaments with this mixture dont bother even measuring thermal conductivity, from what I gather. So it would be interesting to see how TCPoly compares to one of these. TCPoly is kind of expensive, but they say they do provide test prints very quickly which might make it easy to test without having to actually go through the process of printing this unusual material

    I just dont understand how a material with that high of thermal conductivity could be printed. If it conducts heat, the filament would melt in the cold end, causing jams. I would expect a water cooled hot end to help lot with this, although if you already have that, then that's about 50% of what TCPoly would be good for for.most hobbyists anyway (at the risk of sounding lame, of course this plastic has tons of other applications)

    I have been looking around for a PETG with 40% carbon as I think it would make a great battery housing for an electric skateboard. It has been difficult to find and they don't list thermal conductivity in specs. Which filament is tested here?

    I think they probably made the filament from mixing PETG pellets and graphite and maybe some dissolver like acetone (maybe), then put it through something like a Filastruder. I know there are easy methods for doing it online however you should know the filastruder costs like $400 to $500

    Just pointing out that the list in the answer does not directly correspond to the table images provided. PETG (polyethene terephthalate) with 40% Carbon fibre is not the same material as PI (polyimide) even if the thermal conductances might seem similar between the list 1.7 and table 4, 1.73. Also, TCPoly's **filaments** at best are around 8 W/mK once you actually read their specs, and the thermal conductivity varies per plane extrusion direction. The alleged value of 15 W/mK is given for their proprietary print services.

    Also, I did not find a reference to his k value for PLA with copper in the 3DHubs link provided. Basically, the values provided in his answer could be right, but they are certainly not justified with the sources provided. That said, this information is not simple to find at least for commercial filaments.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM