Performance comparison of the 3D-printed and injection-molded PLA and its elastomer blend and fiber composites

The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of polylactide (PLA)-based materials shaped by the traditional injection molding technique versus three-dimensional (3D)-printing additive manufacturing. Comparisons were performed not only for neat PLA but also for its thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer (TPU) blend and for its E-glass fiber (GF)-reinforced composites. Performance comparison of the injection-molded and 3D-printed specimens was especially conducted to compare their mechanical properties (strength-modulus-toughness) by tensile, flexural, and fracture toughness tests. Other comparisons such as their macro-level appearances, fracture surface morphology, and thermal behavior were also performed by photographic images, scanning electron microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and thermogravimetric analysis. It can be concluded that the use of 3D-printing in the shaping of neat PLA and PLA/TPU blend was generally very beneficial; on the other hand, due to the differences in the orientation of the GF reinforcements, there could be certain reductions in the mechanical performance of PLA/GF and PLA/TPU/GF composite specimens.


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The purpose of this study was to investigate how optimum mechanical properties (strength-modulus-toughness) of inherently very brittle polylactide (PLA) could be obtained by reinforcing with E-glass fibers (GF) and blending with thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer (TPU). Composites and blends were compounded by twin-screw extruder melt mixing, while specimens were shaped by injection molding. SEM analyses revealed that 15 wt% GF and 10 wt% TPU domains, alone and together, could be uniformly distributed in ...
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Citation Formats
C. Kaynak, “Performance comparison of the 3D-printed and injection-molded PLA and its elastomer blend and fiber composites,” JOURNAL OF THERMOPLASTIC COMPOSITE MATERIALS, pp. 501–520, 2019, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: