@Ann: Many of the comments from your recent article about soy-based polyurethane foam would apply to this material. In fact, corn-based PLA is significantly more objectionable in terms of its impacts on the environment and the global food crisis.
Furthermore, if the goal is to increase the strength, stiffness, and heat deflection temperature of injection molded plastics, it's already possible to do so using traditional mineral fillers such as talc and calcium carbonate.
The mechanical properties of these new PLA blends look roughly equivalent to what could be expected from a talc-filled PC/ABS. The main selling point appears to be the ability to put a USDA "bio-based" label on them.
Of course, the role of the USDA is to expand markets for U.S. agricultural products, which the use of bio-based plastics certainly does.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Engineers at the University of San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering have designed biobatteries on commercial tattoo paper, with an anode and cathode screen-printed on and modified to harvest energy from lactate in a person’s sweat.
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