Material of the Month, May 2014: Expancel

Material of the Month, May 2014: Expancel

Posted 11 December 2013 by Donna Creek

We were fascinated when this remarkable material arrived in our office, it might look like a white powder but actually consists of millions of tiny microspheres that expand up to 40 times their original size when heat is applied. Expancel is suitable for a variety of surface applications, ranging from 3D printing inks to the creation of Braille paper.

All you have to do is simply mix expancel powder into the ink or dye you are using to print an item. The powder will expand when heat is applied, resulting in a permanent, embossed effect – this is irreversible. Watch this video to see the potential of Expancel

The Microsphere content of the expancel additives can be varied to influence the reaction. It also offers almost unlimited colouring opportunities and can be combined with a range of plastics as well, it is used in a wide variety of applications; to reduce weight, to lower densities, for insulation and surface modification.

Expancel is non-biodegradable, non-renewable and non-recyclable.