Innovation That Matters

Cooking oil from a local McDonald’s can be made into a high-resolution, biodegradable 3D-printing resin | Photo source Joiarib Morales Uc on Unsplash

Biodegradable 3D-printer resin made from used deep fryer oil

Food & Drink

The production method is cheaper than that of most plastics and the resulting product is biodegradable

Spotted: Researchers at the University of Toronto have found a way to repurpose used cooking oil from a local McDonald’s into a high-resolution, biodegradable 3D-printing resin.

Conventional resins derived from fossil fuels require multiple steps to produce and can cost over €486 per litre. In contrast, all but one of the chemicals used in this new method can be recycled. As a result, the resin can be made for as low as €278 per tonne, which is cheaper than most plastics.  

In addition, unlike conventional 3D-printing resins, the resulting plastic products are biodegradable. The researchers found that printed objects made with their resin lost 20 per cent of their weight after two weeks.

“The reasons plastics are a problem is because nature hasn’t evolved to handle human-made chemicals,” says Andre Simpson, a professor at U of T, who developed the method. 

The resin also dries solid in sunlight, meaning it could be used on the go at work sites.

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