Poplar as biofiber reinforcement in composites for large-scale 3D printing
Publication Name: ACS Applied Bio Materials
Publication URL: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsabm.9b00675
The economic viability of the biofuel industry could be improved by adding a high-value revenue stream for biomass supply chains: bioderived composites for the rapidly expanding large-scale additive manufacturing industry (i.e., 3D printing). Using fibrillated fibers derived from biomass (e.g., Populus) to reinforce polymers for 3D printing applications would be less expensive compared to using conventional carbon fibers. Poplar fibers of different mesh sizes (<180, 180Ð425, 425Ð850, and 850Ð2360 ?m) were used to prepare poplarÐpolylactic acid (PLA) composites. The poplar/PLA composites were successfully printed using a large-scale 3D printer to create a podium support. The tensile strength of the composites increased from 34 to 54 MPa as the poplar fiber size decreased. The fracture surfaces of composites derived from smaller poplar fibers (<180 ?m) were more compact with fewer voids compared with the composites made with larger poplar fibers. Because of the porous and hollow microstructures, smaller poplar fibers contained more pores on their outer surfaces, which were available for the access and penetration of PLA. Poplar has potential for use as a thermoplastic reinforcement for large-scale 3D printing.