what is PLA?

PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a bioplastic made from renewable raw materials. It is a type of polyester that is made up of lactic acid molecules.

The production of PLA involves several steps:

  1. Fermentation: First, starchy plants such as corn, wheat or sugar cane are used to obtain glucose. This glucose serves as the starting material for the fermentation process. With the help of special microorganisms, such as lactic acid bacteria, the glucose is converted into lactic acid.
  2. Cleaning: The resulting lactic acid is then cleaned to remove impurities and ensure high purity. This step is important to improve the quality of the PLA.
  3. Polymerization: In the polymerization phase, the purified lactic acid is placed in a polymerization reactor. By adding catalysts and heat, the lactic acid is converted into long chains called polymers. This polymerization leads to the formation of polylactic acid (PLA).
  4. Shaping: The resulting PLA is processed into granules or filaments to make it available for 3D printing or other processing methods. The granules can be used in injection molding machines to produce various shapes and products, while the filaments are suitable for use in 3D printers.

It is important to note that the exact manufacturing methods and parameters may vary depending on the manufacturer.
However, the steps described above provide a general overview of the PLA manufacturing process. PLA has become a popular alternative to traditional plastics due to its bio-based origin and biodegradation potential.