WS2 inorganic nanotubes (WS2-NT) have been incorporated into Polylactic Acid (PLA) by melt mixing to create a bio-degradable, mechanically reinforced nanocomposite filament. The filament was then processed by Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D-printer, and the morphology and characteristics before and after printing were compared. We found that addition of WS2-NT to PLA by extrusion mixing increases the elastic modulus, yield strength and strain-at-failure by 20%, 23% and 35%, respectively. Moreover, we found that the printing process itself improves the dispersion of WS2-NT within the PLA filament, and does not require changing of the printing parameters compared to pure PLA. The results demonstrate the advantage of WS2-NT as reinforcement specifically in 3D-printable polymers, over more traditional nano-reinforcements such as graphene and carbon nanotubes. WS2-NT based 3D-printable nanocomposites can be used for variety of applications from custom-made biodegradable scaffold of soft implants such as cartilage-based organs and biodegradable soft stents to the more general easy-to-apply nano-reinforced polymers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the KAMIN grant No. 713080 of the Israeli Innovation Authority. TGA was performed at Wolfson Applied Materials Research Center. The authors wish to thank Meital Zilberman’s group for their assistance in the mechanical measurements.
© 2020, The Author(s).