Recycled Plastic could be a key material for Additive Manufacturing Industry

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A new vision for the future of 3D Printing involves standardizing filament to give users a guaranteed level of quality and using recycled plastic waste to create that filament.

This process comes from Aarhus University in Denmark, specifically the department of engineering (DoE), and associate professor Mogens Hinge (of the plastics and polymer engineering arm) – in collaboration with plastic processing and recycling firm Aage Vestergaard Larsen A/S. The project has already been funded to the tune of €84,000 (around $93,000).

Mogens Hinge observed that the current state of filament in the Additive Manufacturing industry is that it’s like an unregulated ‘Wild West’ in terms of the quality you might get from any given batch. The advantages are not only about cheap or unknown-brand filament, either, but even reputable firms can see variations within the quality of their filament, from one production run to the next. Hinge said in an interview: “Even if you buy a reputable-brand filament, there are still problems because there are no standards for what you put into the machine that makes the filament. This is annoying for the individual consumer, but can be disastrous for the industry, which, to a large extent demands documentation for the product.”

The Printing process issues

These variations in exact composition can mean that even when using the same brand and type of filament, you may not get consistent printing results with your machine’s settings, and you may be forced to adjust the temperature, feeding rate and so forth to get the right quality.

Mogens Hinge believes all the necessary details should be supplied with filament, so you know exactly what you’re working with, including the filament glass transition temperature, melting temperature, rheological properties along with surface/wetting properties.

Particularly in the commercial world, this would go a long way to ensuring that 3D-printed parts are made to a higher and more consistent standard (also cutting back on waste). The eventual goal of the university’s project is to produce a standardized, fully documented filament which is, naturally enough, of a high quality and stable, and as mentioned is made from recycled plastic.

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Darren Allan, TechRadar 3D printing could benefit hugely from recycled plastics, published on Jan20, re-edited and published by João Andrade on Jan22 2020;

Featured Image & Article Photo:

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