UV-resistant materials: A beginner's guide

UV resistance refers to a substance’s ability to resist ultraviolet (UV) light, including sunlight. UV light can cause discoloration or degradation in a final part.

Why are UV-resistant materials important?

In 3D printing, UV-resistant materials are necessary should a part or model be exposed to sunlight – or other UV light – for prolonged periods of time. UV-resistant plastics, in particular, will not typically change in appearance be in through yellowing, leaching dye color, bleaching, or the formation of stress cracks. With UV-resistant materials, mechanical properties will also remain intact; they will maintain strength, elasticity, and hardness, and will not become brittle.

Common uses of UV-resistant materials

Applications intended for outdoor use are one common use of UV-resistant materials. Weatherproof applications, in particular, are great candidates for UV-resistant materials.

What else should you know?

UV light affects polymers through a process called “photooxidative degradation,” which results in the breaking of polymer chains – and eventually resulting in a material’s complete degradation.

“UV-stabilized” materials have had a stabilizer added to the resin that resists UV rays and prevents UV degradation

When creating a part, you should be sure to know the difference between “continuous” and “intermittent” exposure to UV rays, with continuous exposure being the more serious of the two

FFF 3D printing materials, such as ASA – a variation of ABS developed for UV resistance – and PVDF have good UV-resistant properties. The UV resistance of these FFF materials can also be increased using additives. This gives FFF 3D printing materials an advantage over SLA materials, as the process is based on UV light, and are not usually UV-resistant unless they undergo post-processing

Our material partners

Here are some details about Ultimaker’s UV-resistant material partners. You can find out more on the Ultimaker Marketplace.

Arkema

FluorX™ is a tough, semi-crystalline fluoropolymer made from Arkema’s Kynar® PVDF. It is formulated for printability, and is a great option for parts subjected to demanding conditions, such as solvents, acids, fire, and UV radiation.

“Kynar® PVDF has a 50 year legacy in outdoor applications due to its tremendous resistance to sunlight and UV rays,” Steven Serpe,  Market Manager, Specialty Powders and 3D Printing at Arkema, said. “Some of the world’s most famous buildings have been coated in Kynar® PVDF based paint to last decades without degrading or discoloring. This same performance can now be achieved in 3D printed objects.”

BASF

Ultrafuse ASA is a high-performance thermoplastic with similar mechanical properties as ABS, but offering additional benefits, making it a good choice for many types of applications.

DSM

Arnitel® ID 2045 is a highly flexible TPC (thermoplastic copolyester) that can be used in a broad range of applications. It has better UV and chemical resistance compared to others of its type, such as TPU (thermoplastic urethane).

Mitsubishi Chemical

DURABIO™ is a bio-based, BPA-free engineering 3D printing material developed by Mitsubishi Chemical. With high transparency similar to PMMA but better impact behavior and improved heat resistance, DURABIO™ closes the gap between PC and PMMA.

With excellent weathering, UV stability, impact performance, and stiffness, 3Diakon™ is an ideal material of choice for outdoor applications and uses and for casting processes where a clean burn to ensure low ash residue is critical to performance.

“We believe that DURABIO™ and 3Diakon™ have outstanding

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