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Suitability of PLA/TCP for fused deposition modeling

Dietmar Drummer (Friedrich‐Alexander University, Institute for Polymer Technology, Erlangen, Germany)
Sandra Cifuentes‐Cuéllar (Friedrich‐Alexander University, Institute for Polymer Technology, Erlangen, Germany)
Dominik Rietzel (Friedrich‐Alexander University, Institute for Polymer Technology, Erlangen, Germany)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 28 September 2012




Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is a layer by layer technology with the potential to create complex and individual parts from thermoplastic materials such as ABS. The use of Polylactic acid (PLA) and tricalcium phosphate (TCP) as resorbable composite is state of the art in tissue engineering and maxillofacial surgery. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the processing conditions and the performance of parts (e.g. mechanical properties) manufactured with a FDM machine.


In this paper, the general suitability of PLA for the processing with FDM is evaluated and material specific effects (e.g. crystallization and shrinkage) are shown. Therefore, the characterization of the semi‐crystalline biodegradable material by thermal, mechanical and microscopic analysis is carried out.


Facts, which affect the functional properties of the samples, are analyzed. Among them, the processing temperature and sample size significantly affect the morphology of the final components. Components from PLA/TCP with sufficient mechanical properties for their potential use as scaffolds are obtained.


Thus, the paper shows that by thermal analysis it is possible to identify major influences on processing and part properties.



Drummer, D., Cifuentes‐Cuéllar, S. and Rietzel, D. (2012), "Suitability of PLA/TCP for fused deposition modeling", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 500-507.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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