Bio-Reinforced Composite Development for Additive Manufacturing: Nanocellulose-Pla
Additive manufacturing (AM) is transitioning from being only a prototyping method towards becoming a manufacturing technique for the quick production of parts with complex geometries. For the complete realization of this transition, the mechanical properties of the printed parts have to meet the requirements of actual load-bearing structural components. Integration of a reinforcing second phase into a polymer is a viable approach for the improvement of resin’s mechanical performance. Addition of carbon fibers into acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) has already been shown to improve its mechanical properties compared to the neat ABS resin (both additively manufactured), and led to the manufacture of world’s first 3D-printed car. However, both ABS resin and carbon fibers are petroleum-based products, and there is a continuous search for alternative, bio-sourced, renewable materials as a feedstock for manufacturing. Towards this direction, we have investigated the potential of cellulose nanofibril-reinforced polylactic acid (PLA) resin systems as an alternative. CNF-PLA composite systems with up to 40 wt% CNF loadings were prepared via compression molding technique and tested. Significant improvements in both tensile strength (80%) and elastic modulus (128%) were observed. Filaments prepared from the same compositions were also successfully 3D-printed into tensile testing specimens with up to 30% CNF concentrations, and showed similar improvements in mechanical performance. Although CNFs were not individually dispersed in PLA matrix, they were observed to be well blended with the polymer based on SEM micrographs. In summary, preparation and 3D-printing of a 100% bio-based feedstock material with the mechanical properties comparable to the carbon fiber-ABS system was successfully demonstrated that it can open up new window of opportunities in the additive manufacturing industry.
Authors: Halil L. Tekinalp, Yuan Lu, Vlastimil Kunc, Chad E. Duty, Lonnie J. Love, William H. Peter, Soydan Ozcan
Conference: CAMX 2016 – Anaheim