Polylactic Acid and Polypropylene: PP vs PLA
What is PLA and PP?
PLA (polylactic acid) and PP (polypropylene) are two popular thermoplastics used in 3D printing. While PLA is the more commonly used material due to its ease of printing and biodegradability, PP has several properties that make it an excellent alternative for many of PLA's printing applications.
PLA vs PP:
One of the main advantages of PP is its flexibility. PP is a highly flexible and resilient material that can bend without breaking, making it ideal for applications that require durable, impact-resistant parts, such as automotive components and toys. In comparison, PLA is a more rigid material that can be brittle and prone to cracking under stress.
Another advantage of PP is its high chemical resistance. PP is highly resistant to a wide range of chemicals, including acids, bases, and organic solvents. This makes it an ideal material for printing parts that may come into contact with corrosive substances or require chemical resistance, such as laboratory equipment or chemical containers. PLA, on the other hand, is less resistant to chemicals and can degrade or deform when exposed to certain substances.
PP is also highly resistant to heat, with a melting point of around 160°C. This makes it an ideal material for printing parts that require high-temperature resistance, such as automotive components, industrial equipment, and electronics. In comparison, PLA has a lower melting point of around 180°C and may deform or melt under high temperatures.
While PLA is a popular material due to its ease of printing and biodegradability, PP is a better choice for many of PLA's printing applications due to its flexibility, chemical resistance, and high-temperature resistance. However, PP can be more difficult to print due to its higher melting point and can require a specialized printer with a heated bed and/or enclosed chamber to ensure good layer adhesion and prevent warping.
In conclusion, both PLA and PP have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of material depends on the specific application requirements. While PLA is a great all-around material for general-purpose printing, PP is the better choice for applications that require flexibility, chemical resistance, and high-temperature resistance.