According to media Recycling International, the US Army Research Laboratory has invented a method to convert post-consumer plastic into 3D printed materials.
Researchers at the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) have fabricated composite thermoplastic filaments using a method called solid-state shear pulverisation.
In this process, shredded waste, mainly plastic bottles, and some paper and cardboard, are comminuted in a twin-screw extruder to produce fines. These powders are then melt processed into 3D printed filaments.
The mechanical properties of the new 3D printed filaments have improved and their average strength is 70 MPa, making them useful materials for the maintenance of military trucks, weapons and other important tools.
The US Marine Corps and research experts are now collaborating to build a mobile recycling trailer for specially trained soldiers to make 3D printed filaments from plastic waste.
ARL researcher Dr. Nicole Zander pointed out: "How to best process these materials, and which additives can improve their performance, we still have a lot to learn. We are just trying to solve these waste plastics."