Home Research & Education Penn State replaces 3D printing plastics with plant-based materials

Penn State replaces 3D printing plastics with plant-based materials

Scientists at Penn State University are working on sustainable resin materials for 3D printing. These should be able to replace petrochemical-based plastics currently used for large-format 3D printing.

According to project leader Stephen Chmely, the new resins could be made from plant-based materials such as lignin and nanocellulose. It is hoped that this will provide greater elasticity and strength than with current materials.

The research is being funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with $650,000 over three years. The long-term goal, he said, is to develop full-fledged alternatives to petroleum-based resins, thereby increasing the sustainability of 3D printing.

Penn State University’s materials experts believe they are well positioned for the project. They combine expertise from materials science and agricultural research.

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