US Researchers Create 3D Printing Filament from Recycled Cellulose Polypropylene

Share this Article

In this recently published study, ‘Recycled Cellulose Polypropylene Composite Feedstocks for Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing,’ researchers from the US explain their findings in using not only composites but those made out of recycled material. Here, the focus is on using polypropylene reinforced with cellulose waste to create 3D printing filament for material extrusion additive manufacturing (MEAM).

With cellulose being more commonly used to strengthen thermoplastics, today, such composites can be helpful in applications such as decking, paneling, furniture, household goods, and more. Not only are they plentiful, but also affordable to use—and best of all, renewable. Such materials also offer strength, low-bulk density—along with less abrasion, meaning that products last longer. To date, many studies have centered around ABS and PLA composites; in fact, some have even included using materials like ground-up macadamia shells with ABS.

For this study, materials like wastepaper, cardboard, and wood flour were used for additives, with powders melted into filament and then printed into samples for testing, considering that mechanical properties could be affected due to filler, along with wettability.

“Strong particle–matrix interfacial adhesion can improve toughness due to efficient stress transfer between phases,” stated the researchers. “On the other hand, poor wetting can lead to debonding, plastic void growth, and shear banding mechanisms, which absorb energy and can improve toughness.”

The composites were created through pulverization, minimizing particles for better results in fabricating samples. The ingredients used for the composite were rather interesting too, in the form of Wegmans and Great Value yogurt containers, along with office printer paper, corrugated cardboard, and wood flour.

“Recycled polypropylene from yogurt containers was cleaned by rinsing with water, ethanol and drying in the air at room temperature. The labels were removed before cutting into pieces that could be fed into the paper shredder (Compucessory model CCS60075). Wastepaper and cardboard were fed through an identical cross-paper shredder,” explained the researchers.

Recycled PP and cellulose starting materials, powder, and filament generated from SSSP. (A) Waste paper, (B) rPP/WP SSSP powder, (C) rPP/WP filament, (D) rPP shreds, (E) rPP/CB SSSP powder, (F) rPP/CB filament, (G) wood flour, (H) rPP/WF SSSP powder, (I) rPP/WF filament. WP = waste paper, CB = cardboard, WF = wood flour.

While all the samples were 3D printed as planned, the researchers pointed out that clogging was an issue for some pieces when using the typical 0.5 mm nozzle. The team theorized that cellulose was responsible for the clogging due to some particles not ground finely enough. Cardboard and paper did not always remain sufficiently mixed either. 3D printing was performed on a Lulzbot Taz 6 3D printer, with a 100 °C bed temperature and a 220 °C nozzle temperature used.

“Sections along the length of a filament spool were examined by scanning electron microscope and thermogravimetric,” concluded the researchers. “The rPP/CB composites have a greater loading of cellulose compared to the commercial PP (cPP)/CB composites, but loading does not change significantly along the ca. 30 ft. examined. Further, weight percent remaining by TGA does not show significant differences in char along each respective filament.”

Ultimate tensile strength (hatched bars) and modulus (solid bars) of printed PP with 10 wt % cellulose. *, **, # significantly different from the respective control. WP = waste paper, CB = cardboard, WF = wood flour.

While 3D printing today offers a host of different materials to choose from as a whole, many are better when reinforced, meaning that composites are becoming increasingly more popular from copper metal to continuous wire polymers or continuous carbon, and more—even to include alternatives like wood and cork.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

Ultimate tensile strength (hatched bars) and modulus (solid bars) of printed PP with 10 wt % cellulose. *, **, # significantly different from the respective control. WP = waste paper, CB = cardboard, WF = wood flour.

[Source / Images: [‘Recycled Cellulose Polypropylene Composite Feedstocks for Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing’]

Share this Article


Recent News

NASA Announces Collaborations to Advance 3D Printing Technologies for Space Exploration

Visitech Launches First-of-its-Kind DLP for Powder Bed Fusion 3D Printing



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Connecting at Formnext Connect, Part Two: Cellulose, QA, and DLP for PBF 3D Printing

The industry’s biggest trade show made the crucial decision to take its world-renowned event and host it online, potentially disrupting countless networking opportunities and business deals. Given the fact that...

Featured

3D Printer Review: The Orange 4K LCD 3D Printer from Longer 3D

After learning about the Orange 4K from Longer 3D, I was excited to get my hands on one and take it for a test ride. What most intrigued me about...

Featured

SmarTech Analysis: Annual 3D Printed Eyewear Revenues to Reach $2.3 Billion by 2030

The latest AM market research report, titled “Markets for 3D Printing Eyewear 2021“, from SmarTech Analysis focuses on the adoption of 3D printing in the eyewear sector. This includes not...

Laser Wars: 3D Systems Working on Nine-Laser, 1m x 1m x 600mm Metal 3D Printer

Yes, yes, yes: the laser wars are here! For years everyone had single-laser powder bed fusion (PBF) systems. Then, there was double and, for a few years, quad-laser systems were...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.