New composite advances lignin as a renewable 3D printing material

December 22, 2018 |

In Tennessee, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have created a recipe for a renewable 3D printing feedstock that could spur a profitable new use for an intractable biorefinery byproduct: lignin.

The discovery expands ORNL’s achievements in lowering the cost of bioproducts by creating novel uses for lignin—the material left over from the processing of biomass. “Finding new uses for lignin can improve the economics of the entire biorefining process,” said ORNL project lead Amit Naskar.

Researchers combined a melt-stable hardwood lignin with conventional plastic, a low-melting nylon, and carbon fiber to create a composite with just the right characteristics for extrusion and weld strength between layers during the printing process, as well as excellent mechanical properties.

The lignin-nylon composite is patent-pending and work is ongoing to refine the material and find other ways to process it.

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Category: Research

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