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Three-Dimensional Printing with Waste High-Density Polyethylene

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posted on 24.10.2019 by Aniket Gudadhe, Nirmalya Bachhar, Anil Kumar, Prem Andrade, Guruswamy Kumaraswamy
Fused filament fabrication (FFF) three-dimensional (3D) printing of semicrystalline polymers such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is challenging because crystallization-induced shrinkage of the filament, as it cools, results in stresses that warp the printed part and debond it from the print substrate. Here, we demonstrate that waste-derived HDPE can be successfully 3D printed by (i) blending with a small fraction (<0.5% by weight) of dimethyl dibenzylidene sorbitol (DMDBS) and (∼10%) linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and (ii) printing the object with a thin “brim” around it that is adhered to the print substrate using common polyvinyl acetate-based glue. We match our experimental results with FEM simulations that provide insight into the origin of the stresses developed during printing. Because HDPE forms a significant fraction of the plastic waste stream, conversion of waste-derived HDPE to 3D printing filament has important technological implications.

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