What is PLA?
PLA stands for PolyLactic Acid (polylactic acid) and is a biological plastic (biopolymer). By extrusion, the polymers in the form of wire are processed for FDM (fused deposit modeling) 3D printing for prototyping.
Extra substances (additives) are added to the PLA to reinforce certain properties:
- Fire-resistant substances: such as flame retardants, so that fire is not spread
- Stabilizers: keep the filament strong and UV additives to prevent discolouration / yellowing
- Pigments: colorants to give the PLA the right color
PLA is made from sugars from plants through fermentation. It is biodegradable in industrial composting machines at a constant temperature of 60 ° C, pressure and micro-organisms and is then recycled into lactic acid. The ecological footprint, or Footprint, of PLA is half of comparable plastics and will go to zero.
PLA prints very easily at relatively low temperatures under fairly basic conditions. You do not need a heated bed, the fan cooling is maximal during printing and the detailing of a 3D print from PLA is very good.
PLA is increasingly being used for packaging, disposable cutlery, textile fabrics, electronic housings and 3D filament
Technical data PLA
- density of the material (mass per unit volume) *: 1.24 g / m³
- Melt flow index (test to determine the flow of a plastic): 6 g / 10 min.
- Diameter tolerance (deviation from the diameter): +/- 0.05 mm
* PLA is sold per kilo and therefore the density is important; a lower density means more material.
- Tensile strength: 60 MPa at yield / 53 MPa at break
- Elongation at break (fraction elongation *): 6%
- Tensile Modulus (elastic modulus **): 3600 MPa
- Flexural strength (bending strength / flexibility): 83 MPa
- Flexural Modulus (flexural strength): 3800 MPa
- Izod Impact Strength: 16 J / m
* ratio between the length of the plastic before and after breakage
** Physical formula, see Young’s modulus
- Glass transition temperature (glass transition temperature *): 55 - 60 ° C *
- Heat distortion temperature (when does the plastic become soft?): 55 ° C
* This is NOT the melting temperature; this is the temperature (° C) at which an amorphous polymer changes from a hard, brittle state to a soft, rubbery state (source: Intertek)
- Print temperature: 190 - 215 °C
- Heated bed temperature: 0 - 60 °C
- Bed adhesion: Gravity Spray or Magigoo
- Fan speed: 100%
- Print speed: 25 - 70 mm / sec. *
* If you increase the print speed, you must also increase the print temperature. You have to tackle this experimentally.