on 02/25/2015

Special Prize
Taiwan University of Science and Technology
The Study of the Effect of Glass Fibers on Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) and Structural Integrity

Environmentally degradable polymers and plastics (EDPs) are a group of polymeric materials experiencing a rapid growth in number as well as in their applications and quantities used. Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch, tapioca roots, chips or starch, or sugarcane. PLA can be used in manufacturing products like food containers as well as medical bone screws and plates. This goal of this study is to get a more comprehensive understanding of how glass fibers including both long and short fibers influence the mechanical properties of PLA products and pinpoint the important injection molding processing parameters in order to serve a valuable reference for future PLA product development.

Moldex3D simulation technology was utilized to study the two different molding scenario of using PLA material with and without adding any fibers. Next, a detailed simulation analysis was done to further differentiate the effects of using short and long fibers in injection molding process with PLA material. Then, Moldex3D FEA interface was used to transfer essential injection molding simulation data to ANSYS software for a further analysis on product structural integrity.

Through Moldex3D simulation analyses, NTUST was able to understand that the fiber orientation result is highly associated with the filling behavior and they could further identify the different fiber orientation results in the freeze layer, the shear layer and the core layer. Then, with a close integration of Moldex3D and structural analysis software-ANSYS, a more precise analysis on product structural integrity could be achieved. Thus, with the accurate simulation results, NTUST was able to conclude that long fibers possess better functionality over short fibers due to its superior performances in fiber orientation, tensile strength, impact strength, and warpage.

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