Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-25-2020

Department

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Abstract

This study explores the potential to reach a circular economy for post-consumer Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (rPET) packaging and bottles by using it as a Distributed Recycling for Additive Manufacturing (DRAM) feedstock. Specifically, for the first time, rPET water bottle flake is processed using only an open source toolchain with Fused Particle Fabrication (FPF) or Fused Granular Fabrication (FGF) processing rather than first converting it to filament. In this study, first the impact of granulation, sifting, and heating (and their sequential combination) is quantified on the shape and size distribution of the rPET flakes. Then 3D printing tests were performed on the rPET flake with two different feed systems: an external feeder and feed tube augmented with a motorized auger screw, and an extruder-mounted hopper that enables direct 3D printing. Two Gigabot X machines were used, each with the different feed systems, and one without and the latter with extended part cooling. 3D print settings were optimized based on thermal characterization, and both systems were shown to 3D print rPET directly from shredded water bottles. Mechanical testing showed the importance of isolating rPET from moisture and that geometry was important for uniform extrusion. The mechanical strength of 3D-printed parts with FPF and inconsistent flow is lower than optimized fused filament, but adequate for a wide range of applications. Future work is needed to improve consistency and enable water bottles to be used as a widespread DRAM feedstock.

Publisher's Statement

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13194273

Publication Title

Materials

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Version

Publisher's PDF

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.