FROM PLANTS TO PLASTICS TO 3DPS 3D PRINTER FILAMENT
Here is a look at how simple plant sugar is turned into this an ingenious 3D printer filament that is made from plants, not oil.
BIOPOLYMER STARTS WITH PLANTS
This revolutionary bioplastic used in 3DPS PLA filament is source from a leading North American bioplastics manufacturer which is made up of long molecular chains of the polymer polylactide. It is derived from naturally-occurring plant sugar.
The raw product is made from dextrose (sugar) that is derived from field corn already grown for many industrial & functional end-uses. Corn is used first because it is the most economically feasible source of plant starches.
The biopolymer uses less than 1/25th of 1% (0.04%) of the annual global corn crop today, so there’s little to no impact on food prices or supply. The process does not require corn; only the sugar source.
PHOTOSYNTHESIS: NATURE’S WAY OF MAKING SUGAR
Carbon Dioxide from the air is absorbed by the leaves of a plant.
Wateris taken in from the soil by the roots.
Sunlight provides the energy needed to transform carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen – a process called photosynthesis.
Glucose (Sugar) is made by the plant and used as fuel. Any unused sugar is stored as starch and can be harvested to use for making the biopolymer.
Oxygen is released back into the atmosphere.
TURNING SUGAR INTO THE POLYMER
Microorganisms convert the sugar into lactic acid through fermentation.
Dextrose (Sugar) is created from the harvested plant starch (made during photosynthesis) through a process called hydrolysis.
Lactic Acid Molecules a 2-step process transforms the lactic acid molecules into rings of lactide.
Lactide Ring opens and linkes together to form a long chain of polylactide polymer. This is the process of polymerization.
Polymer Chain A chain of polymer can consist of tens of thousands of units linked together.
The plastic is then formed into pellets where it is taken to our 3DPS factory line.
MAKING OF 3DPS 3D PRINTER FILAMENT
Whilst at our factory the PLA pellets are dried and then dyed to create a range of different 3DPS colours. The dyed pellets are heated in specialised heating vats and extruded at either 1.75mm, 2.85mm or 3.0mm diameters ready to be packaged, sent to you and extruded again by your 3D printer into your 3D creations!
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