National Lab adds lignin composite to 3D printing palette


In Tennessee, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a plant-based composite material for 3D printing. Using waste lignin from biofuel manufacturing and rubber, carbon fiber, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, ORNL has developed a material with 100% improved weld strength between layers compared to ABS alone.

The lignin facilitates melt flow and thermal crosslinking, while the carbon fiber improves the composites performance. ABS improves structure bonding.

The ORNL researchers say they will continue to develop the print materials. “To achieve this, we are building on our experience with lignin during the last five years,” said ORNL’s Amit Naskar. “We will continue fine tuning the material’s composition to make it even stronger.”