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Indust Insights| Scientist at UTSC Transformed McDonald's Discarded Oil into 3D Printing Resin

Research team at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) has formulated resins for stereolithography 3D printing (SLA) using discarded McDonald's cooking oil. To reduce waste and build sustainable materials for high-value commercial 3D printing resins, the oil is processed in a one-step chemical process to high-resolution final prints up to 100 microns.

Compared to commercial resins, the newly developed resin shows thermomechanical stability, morphological uniformity, and biodegradability. Andre Simpson, a professor at the Department of Physics and Environmental Sciences in UTSC and the lead author of the research report published by ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, said: "Plastics have become a problem since nature can’t degrade man-made chemicals. In this case, fat in cooking oil is not a problem, and nature can easily deal with it.” Researchers use food Oil-derived resin 3D printed plastic butterflies delivered resolutions up to 100 microns and are good in terms of structure and thermal stability.




Scientists have confirmed that edible oil-derived resins will be an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to the SLA 3D printing resin. According to UTSC researchers, the waste cooking oil is discharged directly into the sewage system, thereby blocking the sewage pipeline. The study pointed out: "McDonald's is the world's largest fast food chain, accounting for more than 10% of the global market share, and it is estimated that it can produce 600 tons of WCO per day." Therefore, the oil fetched from McDonald's restaurant in Scarborough is recycled and reused by additive manufacturing. A simple one-step Michael addition reaction was used to acrylate one liter of oil and was prepared for making 420 milliliters of resin, which will be used to make plastic butterflies with structural and thermal stability.


Most chemicals used to make oil-based resins have been found to be recyclable. Researchers believe that the price can be as low as $ 300 per ton, which is far cheaper than traditional resins pricing at $ 525 per liter. Professor Simpson explained: "If you bury this material in the soil, the microbes will biodegrade it because it is essentially fat thus not being damageable to the environment.”