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I was thinking about what would happen when flexible filament is frozen. Would it become brittle or still be rather tough*. A situation I think of would be a ice tray in the freezer. It is nice to have some flex to get the ice out, but PLA and other filaments wouldn't work, but will flexible filament work?

*when I say 'tough' I mean having similar properties when unfrozen.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just wanted to mention that most filamants are not safe for use as an ice tray (non-toxic is not the same as safe for food contact, especially for long contact with liquids and not in room temperture) $\endgroup$ – Nir Jan 2 '18 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Nir Don't worry, I am aware of that. Just needed a example :) $\endgroup$ – Ljk2000 Jan 2 '18 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Nir "citation needed" as to the non-safety of PLA or other common filaments. Not being rated as useable by commercial food manufacturers is not the same as actually being unhealthy. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jan 2 '18 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft using non-food-grade material is unsafe, your roll of PLA can be contaminated with unhealthy materials or it may not be, it may contain unhealthy pigments and additive or it may not - you have no way of knowing (unless you buy food-grade filament, obviously) - so it is unsafe $\endgroup$ – Nir Jan 2 '18 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Nir unless you've been printing under a fume hood, you have inhaled a ton of filament already. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jan 2 '18 at 18:50
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The behaviour of "frozen filament" will entirely depend from the specific formulation of it.

The term "flexible filament" encompasses a variety of different polymers as for example: thermoplastic elastomers like TPE and TPU (e.g.: ninjaflex), copolymers (e.g.: bendlay), copolyesters (e.g.: Ngen Flex), polycaprolactones (e.g.: PCL), etc...

Even in those broad classes of chemicals, the amount, type and quality of additives will affect the physical properties of the filament a lot. In fact rigid.ink even produces a flexible PLA that proves the point of additives radically affecting the properties of the main material.

In general, all materials lose elasticity at lower temperatures (a Space Shuttle came down because engineers failed to account for this). Polymers that do not contain water are unlikely to crystallise though, so I would expect it to become stiffer but not to fail catastrophically at 0°C.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, no: the engineers were quite aware of this; upper-level managers used their bullying power to force "agreement" on launch safety. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jan 2 '18 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ You are correct engineers thought the entire Shuttle programme was unsafe and that they had doubts about that specific mission on top of that. Yet it was them who designed the an assembly and gaskets that did not meet the project requirements in the first place (which is what I was referring to). Anyway: you are taking the reference way too seriously. Mine was just a way to highlight how the concerns of the OP are important, as a seemingly small detail like "loss of elasticity" can bring about the catastrophic failure of an entire project. :) $\endgroup$ – mac Jan 2 '18 at 22:23

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