On May 18, 2020, Antarctic Bear learned that the SeaBioComp project funded by the European Union is using 3D printing to produce a fender used to protect the hull structure when the ship is moored and guided. Possibility.
To replace tropical wood and synthetic plastics in the fender structure, the team explored the use of two materials, namely, recycled PETG and thermoplastic starch polymer (TSP) containing glass fiber reinforced materials (rPETG-GF30).
Project member De Klerk Waterbouw is a marine product installation expert who outlined the design requirements of the component. This includes a 400 mm width that can be slid into the base of the auxiliary structure, and an open cavity that can be filled with material to improve impact resistance and energy absorption.
Poly Products, a Dutch composite production company, used CEAD’s large 3D printer to print out a sample unit of fender structure composed of TPS and PLA. The structure has passed the material test of the University of Portsmouth and the mechanical test of De Klerk Waterbouw, and the results show that the effect is good. The next step is to further optimize the design, materials and production process, and then make a complete mudguard.
The results of material testing led by the University of Portsmouth and the mechanical testing of De Klerk Waterbouw have shown great promise. Further optimization of design, materials and production may lead to full production in the future. In the future, a full-size 3D printed fender structure will be installed to test the performance of the structure on site.
As we discussed in the story about TSP, these materials are difficult to process at room temperature and are very brittle. TSPs are made of starch itself (as opposed to lactic acid extracted from starch, such as PLA) and are usually mixed with other plasticizers. In this case, TSP is mixed with polylactic acid, and polylactic acid itself has ecological problems, but if it can be grown and harvested sustainably, it is more promising than petrochemical polymers.
Since chemical companies invest in fossil fuel plastics (in addition to biopolymers), in part to hedge the global bet on the transition to renewable energy (which also has its own ecological problems), it is necessary to prove that biopolymers are in large-scale Feasibility in application. To this end, researchers at the Singapore University of Technology and Design 3D printed a fully biodegradable wind turbine blade made of chitin and cellulose.
If we can show the world that biopolymers like TSPs can be used to replace traditional petroleum plastics, then we are likely to rely on more sustainable development resources while maintaining some characteristics of post-industrial society. However, we still have a long way to go. The SeaBioComp project is a small step in demonstrating the application of bioplastic 3D printing, but it is also an important step.
Compiled from: 3dprint