Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Towards Distributed Recycling with Additive Manufacturing of PET Flake Feedstocks

Version 1 : Received: 28 July 2020 / Approved: 30 July 2020 / Online: 30 July 2020 (07:49:38 CEST)

How to cite: Little, H.A.; Tanikella, N.G.; Reich, M.; Fiedler, M.J.; Snabes, S.L.; Pearce, A.J.M. Towards Distributed Recycling with Additive Manufacturing of PET Flake Feedstocks. Preprints 2020, 2020070707 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0707.v1). Little, H.A.; Tanikella, N.G.; Reich, M.; Fiedler, M.J.; Snabes, S.L.; Pearce, A.J.M. Towards Distributed Recycling with Additive Manufacturing of PET Flake Feedstocks. Preprints 2020, 2020070707 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0707.v1).

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, rPET is processed using only an open source toolchain with fused particle fabrication (FPF) or fused granular fabrication (FGF) processing. In this study, first the impact of granulation, sifting and heating (and their combination) is quantified on the shape and size distribution of the rPET flakes. Then feeding studies were performed to see if they could be printed through an external feeder or needed to be direct printed with a hopper using two Gigabot X machines, one with extended part cooling and one without. Print settings were optimized based on thermal characterization and for the latter which was shown to print rPET directly from shredded water bottles mechanical testing is performed. The results showed that geometry was important for extended feeding tubes and direct printed using a hopper. Further there is a wide disparity in the physical properties of rPET from water bottles depending on source and the history of the material. Future work is needed to enable water bottles to be used as a widespread DRAM feedstock.

Subject Areas

polymers; recycling; waste plastic; upcycle; circular economy; PET; additive manufacturing; distributed recycling; distributed manufacturing; 3D printing

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