• Janez Slapnik Polymer Technology College, Ozare 19, Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia
  • Rajko Bobovnik Polymer Technology College, Ozare 19, Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia
  • Maja Mešl Polymer Technology College, Ozare 19, Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia
  • Silvester Bolka Polymer Technology College, Ozare 19, Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia



We investigated the effects of two different types of impact modifiers, i.e. core-shell rubber and aliphatic polyester, on the mechanical and thermal properties of polylactide (PLA) filaments for 3D printing. First, PLA/impact modifier blends with various concentrations of impact modifiers were prepared by melt blending in a co-rotating twin screw extruder and test specimens by injection molding. The mechanical and thermal properties of blends were investigated by tensile and bending tests, dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and Charpy impact test. It was found that core-shell rubber remarkably improved Charpy impact strength at loadings above 5 wt % (up to 746 %). As shown by DMA, the PLA/10 wt % core-shell rubber blend exhibited better damping performance as compared to neat PLA over the whole examined frequency range, especially at high frequencies, which explained the increase in impact strength. The filament for a fused deposition modeling (FDM), 3D printer was prepared from blend with the highest impact strength (PLA/10 wt % core-shell rubber), whereas PLA and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer (ABS) filaments were used for reference. Test specimens were prepared by using a consumer FDM 3D printer. The mechanical and thermal properties were investigated by tensile and bending tests, DMA, Charpy impact test, and ultra-fast differential scanning calorimetry (Flash DSC). Specimens from PLA blend exhibited 109 % increase in Charpy impact strength as compared to neat PLA. In contrast to injection molded specimens, 3D printed PLA blend exhibited higher tensile E modulus than neat PLA, which was ascribed to improved interlayer adhesion. Moreover, DMA and Flash DSC analysis of 3D printed specimens showed an increase in the glass transition temperature as compared to injection molded specimens. This phenomenon was ascribed to reduction of free volume because of slow cooling in 3D printing process, which is also the reason for increased tensile E modulus of the PLA blend. All tested PLA, PLA blend and ABS filaments were in amorphous state as shown by Flash DSC analysis. Bending test showed an increased toughness of PLA blend in comparison to neat PLA and also higher toughness as compared to ABS. The modified polylactide (PLA/10 wt % core-shell rubber) filament thus combines easy processability of PLA filament and impact toughness of ABS filament.


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