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PLA (Polylactic acid)

PLA (Polylactic acid) is a thermoplastic *monomer made up of renewable, organic sources such as corn starch or sugar cane. PLA can be produced using the same equipment as petrochemical plastics, making PLA manufacturing processes cost efficient. Other than the raw material differences, PLA can be produced using the same equipment as petrochemical plastics, making PLA manufacturing processes cost efficient. PLA is one of the most produced bioplastics.
Made from a recyclable and renewable resource, PLA has a lot of positives for the future, plus with rising oil prices, a corn-based plastic has financial benefits too. For all these positives, the low melting point of PLA compared to plastics like PET Polyethylene terephthalate means it has not been picked up for as many applications yet.
The cost of PLA production has also reduced over the decades, but care needs to be taken to decompose this material, which needs special composting in facilities that can heat the material to 140°C degrees for ten days. However, while this requires a plant to achieve, it is preferable to send used PLA to landfill, where it is estimated it would take up to 100 to 1,000 years to break down.

PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate glycol)

PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate glycol) known as PETG or PET-G, is a thermoplastic polyester that delivers significant chemical resistance, durability, and formability for manufacturing. PETG is an adaptation of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) where the ‘G’ stands for glycol, which is added at a molecular level to offer different chemical properties. PET uses the same *monomers as the glycol modified PETG, but PETG has greater strength and durability, as well as being more impact resistant and better suited to higher temperatures.
Due to the low forming temperatures of polyethylene terephthalate glycol, it is easily vacuumed, pressure formed, or heat bent, making it popular for a variety of consumer and commercial applications. These properties also make it one of the more widely used materials for 3D printing and other heat-forming processes. PETG is also well suited for techniques including bending, die cutting and routing.
The properties of polyethylene terephthalate glycol make it suitable for a wide range of different applications, including:

1. Food and Drink Containers Because it has good chemical resistance and is easy to thermoform, PETG is widely used for items such as cooking oil containers, drinking bottles and FDA-compliant food storage containers. It is also used for cosmetics packaging and the light weight and high strength delivers advantages for distribution costs and effectiveness.

2. Medical and Pharmaceutical Applications The rigid structure of PETG means that it can survive harsh sterilization processes, which makes it an ideal substance for medical implants as well as packaging for pharmaceutical and medical devices.

3. Retail Stands and Displays polyethylene terephthalate glycol is widely used for point-of-sale retail stands and displays. Since it can be colored, it is also ideal for signage.

4. Machine Guards PETG is also used to manufacture machine guards. The translucent plastic is easy to form while also offering protection for users. PETG guards are often used in food processing as they are easier to form than polycarbonate and more durable than acrylic

ABS plastic (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

ABS plastic, which stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is a thermoplastic material used across multiple industries due to its remarkable properties. With its toughness, impact-resistance, and lightness, ABS plastic is easy to machine, mold, and fabricate. Its high strength, rigidity, dimensional stability, and resistance to chemicals, heat, and abrasion make it an ideal material for various applications, such as automotive parts, toys, household appliances, pipes, and fittings.

Additionally, ABS plastic is recyclable, offering manufacturers an eco-friendly option for their products.

ABS is made up of three *monomers called Acrylonitrile, Butadiene, and Styrene.

ABS is known for its rigidness, strength, and chemical resistance, with a density of approximately 1.05 grams per cubic
centimeter (g/cm³). However, it is heavily affected by polar solvents. The low melting temperature of Acrylonitrile
Butadiene Styrene can be processed in injection molding, blow molding, extrusion molding, and especially in 3D
molding. The emulsion method is widely used and is considered the best.
Key Properties of ABS are as follows:
• Significant impact resistance even at low temperatures
• Decent insulating properties
• High rigidness and strength
• Good mechanical strength with constant stability
• Good weldability
• Excellent surface brightness
• Good abrasion resistance
• Structurally sturdy

Carbon Fiber Filament

Carbon Fiber Filament is a polymer that is strong and lightweight. It is infused into other materials like PLA, ABS, PETG, and Nylon to increase the durability of the printed product in terms of stiffness and tensile strength. Carbon fibers are thin fibers composed of carbon atoms bonded together in a crystalline formation. The use of carbon fiber filament makes 3D printed parts stronger, sturdier, and lighter, and prevents parts from shrinking as they cool down. Carbon fiber filament is used for printing strong parts that will not break under pressure, such as cases for fragile parts. Industrial companies and vehicle manufacturers use carbon fiber filament to print tools and parts for building vehicles. Carbon fibers have several advantages including high stiffness, high tensile strength, low weight, high chemical resistance, high temperature tolerance (carbon fiber does not melt until over 3600°C,) and low thermal expansion. Carbon fiber is five times stronger than steel and twice as stiff. Though carbon fiber is stronger and stiffer than steel, it is lighter than steel; making it the ideal manufacturing material for many parts.


TPU is a type of polymer, which means it is a large molecule composed of repeating subunits. More specifically, TPU is a block copolymer made up of hard and soft segments. The hard segments are formed from diisocyanates, while the soft segments are typically made from polyols. This alternating structure of hard and soft segments gives TPU its distinctive combination of rigidity and flexibility.

Applications of TPU

Automotive: In the automotive industry, TPU is used in components like cable sheathing, fuel lines, and interior trims, due to its high durability and resistance to oils and greases.

Footwear: TPU is a popular material for the soles of sports shoes and boots, thanks to its high elasticity and shock absorption.

More Applications of TPU

Medical: TPU’s excellent biocompatibility and flexibility make it a suitable choice for a variety of medical applications, including catheters, surgical instruments, and medical wearables.

Electronics: Due to its durability and flexibility, TPU is often used for smartphone cases, cable insulation, and other electronics accessories.

Definitions & References:

Monomer is defined as a simple molecule with two or more binding sites through which it forms covalent linkages withother monomer molecules to form the macromolecule. Monomers are thus building blocks of polymers.
Diisocyanates used in polyurethane production are divided into two types: aromatic diisocyanates and liphatic diisocyanates.

Aromatic Diisocyanates
There are two primary aromatic diisocyanates: toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI).

TDI main use is to produce flexible foams.

MDI, the second type of DII, comes in two forms: pure MDI and polymeric MDI (PMDI).

Pure MDI is used in producing various polyurethane products like coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers (CASE) such as paints, glues, and weather resistant materials.

PMDI is a highly versatile product used to produce a wide variety of rigid, flexible, semi-rigid, and polyisocyanurate and thermoset foams.

There are also less common aromatic diisocyanates, such as p-phenylene diisocyanate (PPDI) and naphthalene diisocyanate (NDI).

What Is TDI?
Toluene diisocyanate (TDI) is used in polyurethane production, primarily for flexible foam applications including bedding and furniture, carpet underlay, and packaging applications. TDI is also used in coatings, sealants, adhesives, and elastomers. In transportation applications, TDI is used to help make automobile parts lighter, leading to improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency and thus energy conservation.

What Is MDI?
Methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) is used in polyurethanes production for many applications, including rigid polyurethane foams used for home and refrigerator insulation. Insulation made with MDI can help consumers conserve energy.
Some additional uses of MDI in polyurethanes include coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers (CASE) found in items such as paints, glues, and weather resistant materials. It is also used to make many types of footwear, sports, and leisure products and to a much lesser extent, some specialty flexible foams. MDI can also be used as a binder for wood and to produce mold cores for the foundry industry.

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