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PLA parts exposed to the outside environment

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Black plastics tend to be UV resistant because of the use of carbon black.  (I only wish this were true of white)


--- Quote from: xrunner on February 12, 2024, 12:48:34 pm ---Would it be the same in Texas? I know exactly what the results would be because ... that's where I live - North Texas.  ;D

--- End quote ---

OK .... I walked into that one.   :-DD

From my experience it really depends on the brand and composition of the PLA filament. I had some cheap Chinese stuff melt in the sun within hours, and other higher quality PLA holding up to 60C temps in my enclosed ABS 3D printer for months. I think generally if you use white name brand filament with a large number of perimeters then you can get away with it being outside for a long while. You can improve it quite a bit by annealing the printed part as described But if you want truly weather proof stuff there is no competitor to PETG/ABS/ASA.

Perhaps worth pointing out that PLA is NOT regarded as biodegradable in the environment and requires hot composting to break it down. Even then, it's only certified up to a couple of mm in thickness. (You only get 6 months in an industrial compost heap, larger items take too long.)

As far as I'm aware, there are no PLA compounds currently certified for soil biodegradation, although BASF do have a couple of PBAT/PLA materials that are TUV listed (part of their Ecovia range, M2351 and M2361). However, these seem to contain no more than 10% PLA, possibly because the test standard only requires 90% biodegradation over 2 years. I don't know if anyone makes printer filament from PBAT, but it's a fairly easy plastic to work with.


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