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A lot of people have asked us about the materials that can be used for 3D printing. So we decided to blog about and clear doubts about the materials.
Though 3D printing can be done using almost any material, such as thermoplastics (PLA, ABS) , metals (stainless steel, aluminium, titanium alloys) we chose PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) as it is one of the most environmentally friendly bio-plastics available today. It is 100% recyclable, bio-degradable and bio-compatible. For these reasons, It is quickly becoming a popular alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics.
PLA has been an exciting area of materials development because of its environment friendly properties and also being a strong material. Amongst many other applications, PLA is being investigated as material for various medical devices including coronary artery stents. PLA is mainly made out of corn starch and sugarcane. PLA melts at about 180°C. It is a really strong material, with tensile modulus of anywhere from 2.7 to 16GPa. What this means is that your products are of high strength and won’t break easily.
PLA—which is technically “carbon neutral” in that it comes from renewable, carbon-absorbing plants—as yet another way to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases in a quickly warming world. Your carbon footprint is already lower since you are not using traditional manufacturing techniques to make your designs, and the final output is biodegradable. How cool is that?
Some Interesting facts:
- Production of PLA consumes significant quantities of Carbon di oxide CO2, thus reducing carbon foot print
- Production of PLA produces significant energy savings compared to other plastics
- PLA also will not emit toxic fumes even when incinerated.
PLA products can be recycled by a chemical process which converts PLA back into lactic acid, which can then be used as a raw material for PLA.
- Very good optical properties in terms of transparency and gloss
- Good fat, oil and flavor barrier properties
- It is a breathable material, therefore it finds use in packaging for ready-to-eat vegetables
- Good twist retention, used in sweets packaging
- It’s a ‘bio absorb-able’ surgical plastic. Because of its non-toxicity PLA has been known for its use in medical field such as stitches, orthopedic or galenical pins, implants, sutures, drug encapsulation.
PLA is already being used in a number of packaging applications today, such as fruit and vegetable packaging in supermarkets and disposable beverage cups, fast food packaging, bottles and cutlery.
Below are some product that are made with PLA and used by us for a long time
In short, PLA complies with the rising worldwide concept of sustainable development and is classified as an environmentally friendly material suited for Green-Minded Consumers
– Team Arttsy