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Progress in scientific research using waste plastics as 3D printing consumables

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Update time : 2020-06-05 10:46:02
Plastic products have been widely used in various industries because of their advantages of low cost, lightweight, high strength, corrosion resistance, convenient processing, high insulation and beautiful appearance. According to statistics, in 2019, the global output of plastic products reached 18.1842 million tons. However, because plastic products are natural to age, break, and hard to degrade naturally, the environmental pollution caused by them is also becoming more and more dangerous. Therefore, the treatment and recycling of waste plastics have become a global problem.
 

 
3D printing is an emerging high-tech technology that has flourished in recent years and requires a lot of consumables every year. Standard 3D printing consumables on the market are polymers and metals. Metal consumables are not as complicated as polymers, mainly metal powder; and polymer consumables can be further divided into thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics, which can be used to print commodities ranging from shopping bags to auto parts to Lego bricks. Therefore, recycling waste plastics into 3D printed polymer consumables can not only provide a novel way for recycling waste plastics but also generate high economic value. The project team researched the use of waste plastics as ink for 3D printing consumables, using self-designed printers to print waste plastics into well-formed components to achieve the recycling of waste plastics. The printing accuracy of this project can reach 0.2mm, the filament formation is uniform, and the structure is dense, which is equivalent to the performance of the objects printed using the existing market consumables.
 
The Wuhan University of Technology, School of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Life Sciences, School of Automation, School of Navigation, School of Materials Science and Management have jointly explored a process that uses waste plastics as raw materials, directly omits the intermediate steps of raw material extrusion, and can be directly used as printing inks for 3D printing. The method of printing the product, and the data of the product's melting rate, tensile strength, impact strength and other data are in line with the requirements of 3D printed jewellery on the 3D market and have achieved stage results.
 
The preparation process does not need to add other chemical raw materials, reducing the cost of existing 3D printing raw materials; and in the production process. No toxic and harmful chemicals are produced, which avoids secondary pollution in production. If this new product goes on the market, it will become a noticeable new product for environmental protection.
 
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