Proto Processes 3DP-PLA (Polylactic Acid)
Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a biodegradable and bioactive thermoplastic polymer derived from renewable resources, primarily corn starch or sugarcane. Its popularity in various applications stems from its excellent combination of material properties. PLA exhibits a glass transition temperature (Tg) of around 60-65°C and a melting temperature (Tm) of 150-160°C, making it easily processable through extrusion, injection molding, or 3D printing techniques. It possesses good mechanical properties, with a tensile strength ranging from 48 to 73 MPa, depending on processing conditions, and a tensile modulus of 3,100-3,600 MPa. PLA is characterized by its transparency and gloss, as well as its high biocompatibility, which makes it suitable for medical implants. However, its brittleness and relatively low heat resistance limit its use in high-temperature applications. PLA is also known for its environmental friendliness, as it decomposes into non-toxic components, carbon dioxide, and water when subjected to composting conditions, making it a sustainable alternative to traditional plastics in a wide range of consumer and industrial products.
Common Industry Applications
PLA (Polylactic Acid) is commonly used in consumer goods, 3D printing, and packaging industries due to its biodegradable and versatile nature.
3D Printing – Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
|1.24 - 1.27
|50 - 70
|70 - 100
|5 - 10
|45 - 60
|60 - 65
|Sensitive to UV
PLA is a popular, user-friendly 3D printing material. When designing for PLA, ensure good bed adhesion and even cooling for proper layer adhesion and dimensional stability. Wall thickness should be optimized for strength and rigidity, but remember that PLA has relatively low heat resistance. Incorporate smooth curves and gradual transitions in your design to reduce the risk of warping or delamination during printing.
Cost Saving Tip
To save on costs while 3D printing with PLA, consider adjusting print settings for lower infill percentages and using larger nozzle sizes and layer heights. This will expedite printing while conserving material. Recycling or repurposing failed prints can save both material and money, and optimizing print cooling can economize energy and extend the life of cooling equipment.