• Wide range of applications
  • Toughness
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Biodegradable
  • Food safe

About PLA

PLA, short for Polylactic acid, is the most common material that is used for FDM 3D printing. Unlike petrochemical-based plastics, PLA is considered to be biodegradable and eco-friendly. This material is extremely affordable and thanks to its properties, is suitable for a wide range of applications.

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Property Value
Heat Deflection Temperature (HDT)126 °F (52 °C)
Density1.24 g/cm³
Tensile Strength50 MPa
Flexural Strength80 MPa
Impact Strength (Un­notched) IZOD (J/m)96.1 *
Shrink Rate 0.37-0.41% (0.0037-0.0041 in/in)

* *IZOD impact testing is a standard method of determining the impact resistance of materials


PLA is produced from renewable resources including the sugar in maize and sugarcane. The sugar is fermented and turned into lactic acid, which is then turned into polylactic acid. PLA is the most popular 3D printing material for FDM technology and can be easily sanded and painted with acrylic. Outside of additive manufacturing, this plastic is found in food containers, candy wrappers, and biodegradable medical implants such as sutures. PLA is soluble in chlorinated solvents, hot benzene, tetrahydrofuran, and dioxane.

Compare PLA to other filaments

Common Uses

  • Production of tubes
  • Food packaging
  • Cutlery
  • Surgical threads
  • Surgical pins

PLA Advantages

  • Can be solvent welded using dichloromethane
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Can be used for food containers

PLA Disadvantages

  • Machine processing is difficult
  • Low heat resistance
  • Relatively low strength


Work with this material? Leave a review
All Comments (2)
andy4314Sep 13, 2018, 11:40:49 AM
FWIW.... "Relevantly low strength" should read "Relatively low strength"
supportOct 19, 2018, 5:21:07 AM
Thanks for the feedback!