Sustainable 3D printing: PLA filaments

PLA or polylactic acid is a biodegradable polymer derived from lactic acid with multiple uses, among which is 3d printing. This material is obtained through the polymerization of lactic acid that has its origin in the fermentation of sugars from vegetable products with a high starch content.

The origin of this polymer is found in 1932 when Wallace Carothers obtained a product with a low molecular weight by heating lactic acid under vacuum. Later in 1954 after several improvements Dupont, for which Carothers worked, patented the process.

As we have already indicated, PLA has as raw materials vegetable products with a high starch content such as corn, beets, wheat or sugar cane, products that are 100% renewable and adapted to the plant resources of each region. . If we add to this that it is biodegradable, it makes it a very interesting product, especially because it has similar or better properties to other thermoplastics that have their origin in oil.

The problem that arises with this “ecological” plastic is that fossil fuels are used for its production, although it is important to note that they require between 20 and 50% less than for the production of the same type of plastics that are based on the Petroleum. Another criticism is due to the emission of CO2 and CH4, gases that cause the greenhouse effect, during its decomposition, but this is offset by what the plants that are used for its production absorb during its growth.

In industry this material is used for packaging (bags, cups, bags for frozen vegetables, containers for food, liquids, …), milk and transparent food containers, and in the textile industry as synthetic fiber. It is also used in the medical industry for implants in the bone or in tissues and for sutures since it is a biodegradable and bioabsorbable material.

In the world of 3d printing, PLA filament is known for its ease of printing, so when it starts to print in 3d it is the most used material, to which it is added that many of the 3d printers use this material for printing. Print. Among the advantages it offers, for example, is that it has less contraction between layers so it prevents the intermediate-upper layers from cracking, and that, as it is not toxic and has an odor that is not very unpleasant, it is a Recommended material for home use.

On the contrary, a piece made with this material will suffer at temperatures of more than 60 degrees, its resistance is quite low so if we hit the prints made with this material they will break and it absorbs a lot of moisture, so you have to be careful with the environment in which it is printed.

As we have seen, PLA filaments are an ideal material for home 3d printing, as it is a biodegradable, non-toxic product, without uncomfortable odors and easy to handle. At Winkle we offer you high-quality PLA, since the objective of our company is to offer the best filament products and services in the 3d printing sector. Enter our online store and start creating.

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