Reprintable paste-based materials for additive manufacturing in a circular economy

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The circular economy requires high-value material recovery to enable multiple product lifecycles. This implies the need for additive manufacturing to focus on the development and use of low-impact materials that, after product use, can be reconstituted to their original properties in terms of printability and functionality. We therefore investigated reprintable materials, made from bio-based resources. In order to equally consider material properties and recovery during development, we took a design approach to material development. In this way, the full material and product life cycle was studied, including multiple recovery steps. We applied this method to the development of a reprintable bio-based composite material for extrusion paste printing. This material is derived from natural and abundant resources, i.e., ground mussel shells and alginate. the alginate in the printing paste is ionically cross-linked after printing to create a water-resistant material. This reaction can be reversed to retain a printable paste. We studied paste composition, printability and material properties and 3D printed a design prototype. Alginate as a binder shows good printing and reprinting behaviour, as well as promising material properties. It thus demonstrates the concept of reprintable materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8032
Pages (from-to)1-15
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Bio-based resources
  • Circular economy
  • Material integrity
  • Product design
  • Recycling


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