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PLA, from nature

2021-04-09 3DHey New Material Technology Co., Ltd. 0

Polylactic acid (PLA) is a new type of bio-based and renewable biodegradable material, made from starch raw materials proposed by renewable plant resources (such as corn, cassava, etc.).

Starch raw materials are saccharified to obtain glucose, which is then fermented by glucose and certain strains to produce high-purity lactic acid, and then a certain molecular weight polylactic acid is synthesized by chemical synthesis.

It has good biodegradability. After use, it can be completely degraded by microorganisms in nature under specific conditions, and finally carbon dioxide and water are generated without polluting the environment. This is very beneficial to environmental protection and is recognized as an environmentally friendly material.

With the popularization and application of PLA in the fields of food, medicine, daily necessities, etc., it not only effectively alleviated the earth's energy crisis, but also significantly improved the environmental pollution problem.

Features

1. Sufficient source of raw materials

The raw material for the production of polylactic acid is corn and other renewable resources, without the use of precious natural resources such as oil and wood. Therefore, it will play a very protective role in the depleted oil resources. It also has a unique strategy for China, which is increasingly tight for oil. significance.

2. Low energy consumption

In the production process of polylactic acid, its energy consumption is significantly lower than that of PET, PA, PAN and other petroleum-based resins, which is only 20-50% of the latter.

3. Biodegradability

The biggest feature of polylactic acid is its superior biodegradability. After being discarded, it can be decomposed into lactic acid in nature, and finally hydrolyzed into carbon dioxide and water. Through the photosynthesis of plants, carbon dioxide and water can be turned into starch, which circulates in nature and forms an ecological balance. Replacing ordinary plastics with polylactic acid can solve the problemThe white pollution problem that plagues the world today.

4. Superior physical properties

Polylactic acid has superior physical properties. It has the highest melting point of all biodegradable polymers, and has high crystallinity and transparency. It is suitable for various processing methods such as blow molding, thermoplastics, and wire drawing. It can be processed into polylactic acid film, polylactic acid, etc. Lactic acid fiber and so on. The physical properties of polylactic acid fiber are between polyester (PET fiber) and nylon, but it has a low melting point, a relatively high modulus, and has a very good hand feel. Its dyeability, moisture absorption and wrinkle resistance are better than polyester. Therefore, it is also a rational raw material for making clothing.

5. Biocompatibility

Polylactic acid also has excellent biocompatibility. Its degradation product, L-lactic acid, can participate in human metabolism. It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can be used as medical surgical sutures, injection capsules, microspheres and embedding. Plant agents and so on.

Processing method and application

Polylactic acid has the best tensile strength and ductility. Polylactic acid can also be produced by various common processing methods, such as melt extrusion molding, injection molding, blown film molding, foam molding and vacuum molding, and is widely used at present The polymer has similar forming conditions, in addition it also has the same printing performance as traditional films.

In addition to hard polylactic acid, flexible polylactic acid has also been developed. In this way, polylactic acid can be made into a variety of application products in response to the needs of different industries. The processing of polylactic acid products can use the production technology of ordinary plastics. According to the characteristics of polylactic acid, various products of polylactic acid have been developed, including films, sheets, fibers and rope products.

Medical equipment: surgical gowns, surgical instruments, medical containers.

Textile field: fiber, yarn, non-woven fabric

Packaging field: disposable packaging materials, garbage bags, vest bags, flat pockets, shrink film, compost bags, raincoats, etc.

Stationery field: stationery series

Food packaging materials

Industrial field: injection products, electronic components, sheets, etc.

The emergence of polylactic acid is not limited to reforms in the industry, and it will cause major changes in the daily life of the home.

break down

The decomposition of polylactic acid has two stages: after being decomposed by hydrolysis reaction, it is decomposed by microorganisms.

Hydrolysis occurs first in the natural environment, and then microorganisms enter the tissue and decompose it into carbon dioxide and water. Under composting conditions (high temperature and high humidity), the hydrolysis reaction can be completed easily, and the decomposition rate is also faster. In an environment where the hydrolysis reaction is not prone to occur, the decomposition process is gradual.

Traditional petrochemical raw materials will increase the release of carbon dioxide, but polylactic acid does not have this phenomenon. The carbon dioxide produced during the decomposition process can be used again as carbon atoms required for photosynthesis of plants.

Products made of PLA raw materials will not decompose in the general atmospheric environment and storage warehouses, and will quickly decompose only when the following conditions exist:

Polylactic acid has many unique characteristics that cannot be found in the field of traditional biodegradable plastics. It is safe, hygienic and antibacterial. Utilizing these excellent properties, it is expected that the applications of polylactic acid can be expanded.

It is expected that in the near future, polylactic acid will replace traditional petroleum-based plastics and become an essential part of our daily lives. Polylactic acid will lead us into a society where resources are recycled and reused.

3D printing

 

There are many benefits to using PLA materials for 3D printing, especially if you are a beginner or are looking for a frustration-free experience.

For starters, PLA materials are known to be very easy to print. The material will usually flow out of the nozzle of the 3D printer without any problems, such as warping or nozzle clogging. Most importantly, compared with other materials, the printing temperature of standard PLA materials is relatively low, making it more versatile and easy to print.

However, when you get into PLA blends fused with wood or metal materials, they become a bit difficult to print.

Another advantage of PLA material is that it provides high-quality surface details for 3D printing. Other materials are prone to brushing or spots, but PLA manages to eliminate these potential aesthetic defects. Unlike ABS, another popular 3D printing material, PLA material does not emit an unpleasant smell when extruded.

The reason why PLA materials have many different colors and mixtures is because the materials themselves are easy to color. For PLA, post-processing is also easier, allowing users to improve the surface quality with a small amount of sanding and trimming.

Although materials such as ABS and PETG have certain mechanical advantages, PLA materials are nothing to laugh at. In terms of formation function, PLA is an excellent choice for rapid prototyping. Compared with other commonly used materials, the low temperature melting point can achieve better surface details and sharper features.

Finally, as we mentioned before, typical PLA materials are non-toxic and biodegradable, making them ideal materials for users of environmentally friendly 3D printers.

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