Production of composite material

A project log for Bio-degradable PLA jute composite drone

An attempt at making a bio-degradable composite material that could be used to replace existing epoxy based solutions.

Mitja BreznikMitja Breznik 04/26/2020 at 15:060 Comments

For my first attempt at making the material for the drone frame I decided to go with a transparent color of PLA material. This will enable me to better judge the success of fiber adhesion and create a material with a natural look.

I chose a relatively fine cloth with jute fibers as the laminat for the composite.

I prepared a small baking tray with the following components from bottom to top:

-baking paper

-cut pieces of  PLA (1/3 of composite volume)

-2 sheets of jute cloth

-cut pieces of 1/3 (1/3 of composite volume)

-baking paper

I placed the tray into an old pizza oven I had laying around for 30min at 220 °C in a well ventilated workshop. While checking the progress of PLA melting I pressed repeatedly on the sheets with a flat jig to evenly distribute and flatten the melted PLA.

I am quite pleased with my first attempt, as it seems that some of the panels I made will be usable for the drone frame. PLA mostly managed to get through the jute cloth, but some of the fibers seem more saturated with PLA than others.

Sheets are ready to be cut into drone frame pieces (sending them to my brother, so he could also have some fun during lock-down :)). I hope there will be samples left to perform some testing, comparing the temperature and mechanical properties to plain 3D printed PLA.