Controlling Process Variables in 3D Printing to Limit the Energy Consumption
Patti, Antonella
Acierno, Stefano
Cicala, Gianluca
Acierno, Domenico

How to Cite

Patti A., Acierno S., Cicala G., Acierno D., 2023, Controlling Process Variables in 3D Printing to Limit the Energy Consumption, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 105, 373-378.


This study looked at effective energy usage and renewable resources to make 3D printing more environmentally friendly. The use of bio-based materials and the investigation of technological aspects that maximized the mechanical properties of 3D-printed products and assured energy cost savings were the adopted strategies. Two bio-based thermoplastics made from pure and filled polylactide acid (PLA) with wood were examined. These filaments were printed by changing the extruder temperature (from 190 to 220°C, respectively) and the printing speed (from -30% to +30% of default value) to verify the actual process conditions that allow the material to be extruded for a given printer apparatus. A dynamic mechanical analysis was performed on developed specimens. The energy consumption, to heat and melt the thermoplastics, for every combination of processing variables, was calculated. Results allowed to attest that storage modulus of printed parts and the amount of energy spent during printing were more affected by printing speed than by extruder temperatures. Particularly in the case of PLA+WOOD, by doubling the printing speed, the productivity increased by 37% despite a 30% rise in energy usage. The mechanical properties and printing accuracy did not appear to be severely impacted by an increase in printing speed from 70 to 130 mm/s at least for simple geometries and small sample sizes.