One of the areas where 3D printing has had the highest impact is the medical industry, where it’s been used for everything from creating affordable, custom prosthetics to printing realistic organs for surgery practice. As you might imagine, before it can play a role in more serious concerns, there are a few hurdles to overcome.
One of those is the need for sterility. A Korean company might have an answer to this problem. BnK recently unveiled a new 3D printing filament – an antimicrobial PLA formulation.
What You Should Know about the Filament
Dubbed “Purement”, the new filament has a lot of promise. Imagine being able to 3D print replacement bone grafts and not having to worry that the very material you’re using to improve someone’s quality of life will turn out to be a threat.
The new filament has much wider applications, though, and the company actually wants it to be used in household 3D printing and schools where younger children will be learning about 3D printing.
The real beauty of Purement is the fact that it’s almost completely antimicrobial, which means that it either kills or inhibits the vast majority of microorganisms out there that can contaminate surfaces.
An announcement from BnK states, “According to company studies, Purement has been proven to eliminate 99% of staphylococcus aureus and colon bacillus bacteria in laboratory tests and also prevents them from spreading, thus helping to reduce the risk of infections.”
The material has undergone rigorous testing in Korea, and is currently being evaluated in the US. It has passed EU hallmarks like KOLAS certification, as well as RoHS regulations.
The company states, “This means that it doesn’t contain lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl esters. These restricted materials are hazardous to the environment and pollute landfills, and are dangerous in terms of occupational exposure during manufacturing and recycling.”
What Is Purement?
Purement is more than just standard PLA, that’s clear from the outset. However, it’s not as complicated as you might think.
BnK took standard PLA and blended it with “inorganic antibacterial ingredients”. These ingredients are long lasting, so the antimicrobial properties of Purement won’t fade away over time.
“Even after washing, it is often not possible to completely clean some items. With items made of Purement, bacteria and germs find that the tiny nooks and crannies of 3D printed items aren’t so appealing, thus the risk of spreading germs to your family is greatly reduced,” added a company spokesperson.
In terms of performance, users can expect Purement to behave just like any other PLA filament, so you can print your items just as you always have. While the filament is not available just yet (at least not outside of Korea), once it passes US testing, it should become available for order in this country.
It should also be available internationally within a relatively short time.