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Improving the ductility of polylactic acid parts produced by fused deposition modeling through polyhydroxyalkanoate additions

Kaygusuz, Burçin
Özerinç, Sezer
Polylactic acid (PLA) is one of the most commonly used materials for fused deposition modeling (FDM) due to its low cost, biocompatibility, and desirable printing characteristics. However, its low ductility is a major disadvantage for engineering applications where high damage tolerance is needed. This study investigates the feasibility of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) additions to PLA for improving the ductility of parts produced by FDM. Thermal and mechanical behavior of PLA/PHA specimens containing 12 wt % PHA is investigated for a range of printing nozzle temperatures. All PLA/PHA specimens exhibit amorphous PLA phase with semicrystalline PHA and possess outstanding ductility exceeding 160% for nozzle temperatures in the range of 200 degrees C-240 degrees C. Lower and higher nozzle temperatures result in low ductility, similar to that of pure PLA. Overall, PLA/PHA is a very promising polymer blend for FDM processes, providing a combination of sufficient strength with excellent damage tolerance. (c) 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2019, 136, 48154.