Recycling Polymer Blend made from Post-used Styrofoam and Polypropylene for Fuse Deposition Modelling

Fuse deposition modelling (FDM) has become a revolutionary manufacturing technology as it offers numerous advantages, including freedom of fabrication, mass customisation, fast prototyping, and cost-effectiveness. Thermoplastic material is commonly used as feedstock for FDM process. The current state of material development, the recycled plastic material also can be used as printing material for FDM machine. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) has been extensively used as packaging materials for many industries but rarely be recycled, as its relatively large volume with minimal weight is unconducive for transportation. This research aimed to utilize EPS waste and turn it into FDM feedstock. This research also aims to enhance the properties of recycled polystyrene (rPS) made from EPS waste by blending it with polypropylene (PP). Different ratios of rPS/PP blends were prepared and extruded into FDM filament using filament extruder. The formulated filaments were printed into specimen using FDM machine. This research found the filament made from rPS/PP blends can be printed into specimen with good printing quality if the nozzle temperature controlled at 240o C with 120 % extrusion rate. With this printing parameter, the specimen printed with rPS/PP blend filament exhibit the greatest adhesion between the deposited layers without any visible voids or gaps. Besides, the printed specimen with rPS/PP blends possess lower tensile strength, but higher tensile modulus as compared to the printed specimen with neat rPS. The addition of more PP decreased both tensile strength and modulus of rPS/PP blends. On the other hand, the rPS/PP blends have higher thermal stability as the PP content increased. Overall, the rPS/PP blends filament shows a great potential as a feedstock material for FDM fabrication.