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The most popular material in 3D printing is PLA (polylactic acid). It’s a bioplastic made from renewable sources like corn starch and sugarcane, and it has excellent 3D printing characteristics (low melting temperature, consistent flow, minimal shrinkage, high rigidity). Bioplastics are on the rise due to the improved PR image associated with their renewable qualities, and Advanced BioCarbon 3D (ABC3D) out of British Columbia is expanding the bioplastic bandwagon to encourage more industrial users to jump on.
In an effort to prevent climate change, Hélène Bélanger and Ross Prestidge founded ABC3D to develop engineering-grade 3D printable bioplastics that have negative carbon footprints from the resins found in trees. Extracting resin from trees isn’t particularly new, but it’s the quality of the resin that distinguishes ABC3D other manufacturers. CEO Darrel Fry related, “People often think of bioplastics as single-use with low-value functionality, but our products are incredibly high-functioning with exceptionally high heat resistance while being lightweight. As an example, our goal is to be able to 3D print something like a piston for your car from this material – there’s such high heat resistance, and it’s also very strong.”
Bioplastic - Result - Process - Scientist - Kim
Their bioplastic is the result of a multi-step process best explained by environmental scientist Kim Klassen, “The process uses green chemistry and starts with wood chips from the forest industry that are mixed with a solvent and put through a series of pressurized heating and...
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