Extrusion and characterization of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) filaments compounded with chain extender and impact modifiers for material-extrusion additive manufacturing

Ola Rashwan, Zachary Koroneos, Trent G. Townsend, Matthew P. Caputo, Robert J. Bylone, Brennan Wodrig, Kirk Cantor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The continuous growth of annual production and consumption of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is coined with increasing waste that leaks into the environment, landfills and oceans as microplastics and nano plastics fragments. Upcycling the recycled PET to make a feedstock for the fast-growing material-extrusion additive manufacturing (MEX-AM) technology can contribute to the solution and supports the concept of sustainable materials. In this work, extrudable filaments comprising recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) with low-cost additives, such as pyromellitic dianhydride (PMDA) as a chain extender, styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene terpolymer functionalized with maleic anhydride (SEBS-g-MA), a thermal modifier and toughening agent, ethylene-ethyl acrylate-glycidyl methacrylate terpolymer (E-EA-GMA), a functional reactive elastomeric impact modifier and ethylene-ethyl-acrylate (EEA), a non-reactive elastomeric impact modifier, have been fabricated using the twin-screw extruder. The optimum extrusion process parameters for producing uniform filaments of different rPET compounded formulations have been identified, this includes the extrusion die temperature of 280 °C and the screw speed of 150 ± 3 rpm. The compounded filaments are then printed into standard ASTM test specimens for thermal characterization and mechanical characterization, including glass transition and melting temperatures, crystallinity and crystallization temperature, tensile strength, tensile modulus, ductility, flexural strength, and Izod impact energy. Furthermore, the melt flow index for the filaments was measured. More significantly, the experimental data showed that compounding rPET with such additives in the reactive twin-screw extrusion process results in uniform filaments that display advantageous thermal and mechanical properties and can be used as a feedstock in the MEX-AM technology. This study suggests that compounding the recycled PET pellets with low-cost additives while extruding them into filaments for MEX-AM offers excellent potential to make high-value-added customized products from a sustainable polymer feedstock, such as prototyping, tooling, testing components or end-use internal components for small machines and cars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16041
JournalScientific reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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