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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.

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    $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Sep 19 '19 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ Just infuse the plastic with diamond dust :-) . (If this were possible, it would probably work very well. Diamond is a fantastic thermal conductor) $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Sep 20 '19 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ I wonder how it would compare to the graphite / graphene / carbon nanotubes values listed below $\endgroup$ – K Mmmm Sep 20 '19 at 21:51
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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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    $\begingroup$ what is the source of Table 1 and 4? $\endgroup$ – Trish Sep 19 '19 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a source for the amazing performance of TCPoly that's not their marketing materials? :-) $\endgroup$ – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Sep 19 '19 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ 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. $\endgroup$ – K Mmmm Sep 20 '19 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ 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 $\endgroup$ – K Mmmm Sep 20 '19 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ 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) $\endgroup$ – K Mmmm Sep 20 '19 at 2:53
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Trimet3d has a Nano diamond PLA with a claimed thermal conductivity 3-5 times that of PLA. The diamonds are sub-microscopic and smooth. See https://www.tiamet3d.com/product-page/ultra-diamond-pla-1kg Primarily they seem to be doing it to gain strength.

I would prefer larger diamonds for higher thermal conductivity. It would be ferociously abrasive even for a diamond nozzle. It would also limit the thermal expansion.

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