Cotton Fibers in 3D Printing

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Kearns, Alexa
Farahbakhsh, Nasim
Venditti, Richard
Jur, Jesse

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University of Texas at Austin


This work explores the materials challenges of cotton-loaded with polymer composites toward sustainable solutions in 3D printed free forms. A key step toward composite filament development is the reduction in size of the original cotton fibers. Mechanical processing of the cotton is introduced as a means of reducing the size of cotton fibers to form a material of an ultra-high aspect ratio (>250) structure that is nanometers in diameter and micrometers in length. Mechanical advantages are low density polyethylene loaded with the high aspect ratio cotton and is observed to maintain a mechanically robust material at loading up to 40 wt%. In addition, attempts to print with 25 wt% cotton fillers (~10-15 aspect ratio) in LDPE is demonstrated. Finally, considerations to processing challenges from a sustainable and practical viewpoint are provided.


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