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The Catalan Institute of Corcho will participate in the In(3D)ustry Fair, which will be held in Barcelona from October 16 to 18, 2018

Polymer coils for 3D printing have recently been introduced to the market thanks to the combination of plastic base and vegetable support. Some examples of dual coils are coils combined with wood, coconut or carbon fiber. They have used PLAN as a bonding polymer since it is easy to use and is well characterized by 3D printing.

Following the criteria and strategies of the circular economy and the bioeconomy, from the ICSuro we propose the use of cork by-products, since it is a natural, renewable, biodegradable material and with a combination of properties that make it unique and versatile, such as low density, high elasticity, high mechanical and fire resistance or low thermal and electrical conductivity, as well as being a good thermal and acoustic insulator.

Cork, due to its properties, can provide versatility in terms of 3D printing technology and would compete directly with others plastic-based products, which have a greater environmental impact.

In collaboration with the company 3DSpider, we develop 3DCORK, a new product with a cork base (mixture of cork granules and a plastic biopolymer) usable for additive printing, extrusion, injection and other manufacturing processes. This project contained funding from the Catalan Waste Agency.

cork filament

This new material is 100% sustainable thanks to the PLA base and al percentage of cork, higher than 20%.

The cork oak forest is typically Mediterranean. At 35-40 years of age, the first extraction of cork can be carried out, which, however, is not of sufficient quality to be used in bottle caps. It wasn't until about 60 years ago that the cork had the necessary quality, which created a problem for forest managers. Thus, giving a new use to cork not suitable for plugs is an economically reasonable solution.

New applications of low-quality cork, such as 3D printing cork coils, will increase the economic value of cork, favoring forest owners and making forest management more profitable, counting that the 50% of the Catalan forests are not managed.

Below you can see the poster we presented in it international Cork in Science and Applications conference held in 2017 in Aveiro (Portugal).

Revaluation Catalan low cork feedstock additive technology 3D