PETG or Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol has become popular in commercial and consumer 3D printing because it offers the strength and durability of plastics like ABS while being as easy to work with as PLA. PETG is more flexible and impact resistant

what is PETG?

origins of petg

how was PETG first made?

The mid-20th Century saw a revolution in polymer chemistry as scientists discovered how to produce new materials that could replace traditional organic sources. Polymers of phthalic acid were already being used in paints and varnishes but they were too soft and soluble to be used as fibers. Similarly, glycol-based synthetic fibers had low melting points that made them useless as textiles.

In 1941, British scientistsJohn Whinfield and James Dickson found they could combine these two substancesto create polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE). They heated glycols with terephthalic acid in a process of esterification to create long-chain molecules of PETE that could be turned into fibers with high melting points and that did not dissolve easily. PETE was commercialized in fiber form under brand names like Dacron and in film form as Mylar.

How is PETG made today

PETE’s properties have made it among the most commonlyused plastics today, but it does have some disadvantages. At high temperatures, crystallization turnsa PETE-based object opaque and weaken its structure.

Polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified, or PETG, stops the crystallization by replacing ethylene glycol in the molecular chain with a larger monomer, cyclohexane dimethanol.The new structure prevents PETG molecules from collecting together as readily as PETE, lowering its melting point and inhibiting crystallization.

As a result, PETG can withstand high-temperature processes like thermoforming or 3D printing without losing its properties. Resistant to impacts, heat, and solvents, PETG has applications in many industries. You will find PETG in retail packaging, medical packaging, advertising displays and used as electronic insulators.

is PETG EASILY RECYCLABLE?

The high volume of containers made from PETE makes recycling the plastic very economical. On the largest scales, recycling companies can use a chemical process to break the PETE polymer chains back into its original glycol and terephthalic acid components. Plastic manufacturers can then use these components as raw materials to produce new PETE.

More commonly, however, plastics recyclers grind used PETE into flakes to be sold to manufacturers as feedstock. However, the potential for contamination means this PETE cannot be used for food or medical applications.

Although just as recyclable as PETE using the same techniques, PETG’s lower melting point means PETG and PETE cannot be processed together. Some facilities have the technology needed to separate the two plastics, but others will send PETG to landfills with ABS and other plastics.

Environmental
Impact of PETG

Almost 20% of the trash dumped into landfills consists of plastics like PETG – everything from beverage bottles to shopping bags to retail blister packs. Taking the time to separate plastics from everyday trash helps to recycle these plastics.

Saves Landfill Space

Almost 20% of the trash dumped into landfills consists of plastics – everything from beverage bottles to shopping bags to retail blister packs. Taking the time to separate plastics from everyday trash and send them to recycling centers extends the life of landfills and lowers the cost of waste disposal.

Recycling PET & PETG plastics benefits the environment far beyond the landfill. Producing fresh plastic requires a huge amount of energy and water. Feeding used plastics back into the production process helps reduce the consumption natural resources

saves Natural Resources

Recycling plastics benefits the environment far beyond the landfill. Producing fresh plastic requires a huge amount of energy and water. On top of that, many plastics derive from petroleum. Feeding used plastics back into the production process helps reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and other natural resources.

Whether buried in landfills or tossed across the landscape, unrecycled plastics like PETG pollute the environment for decades. They degrade into microscopic fragments that are carried into oceans, they leach toxins that seep into the water supply.

Decreased Pollution

Whether buried in landfills or tossed across the landscape, unrecycled plastics pollute the environment for decades. They degrade into microscopic fragments that are carried into oceans and threaten aquatic life. And they leach toxins that seep into the water supply. Recycling is the only way to prevent this damage.

PETG USES

PETG industrial uses

PETG plastics are used to package pharmaceuticals and medical devices because of its heat resistance. The thermoplastic can withstand radio-frequency sealing and sterilization processes without losing its protective qualities or transparency.

Medical Packaging

Because PETG retains its durability when exposed to heat,it has become a common way to package pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The thermoplastic can withstand radio-frequency sealing as well as sterilization processes such as ethylene oxide and gamma irradiation without losing its protective qualities or transparency.

PETG's properties make it a perfect choice for packaging in the food, beverage and cosmetics industries. The durability and light weight of PETG packaging reduces distribution costs associated with acrylic or glass packaging.

Food Packaging

FDA-compliant, PETG is easy to thermoform and retains its transparency after heating – properties that make it a perfect choice for packaging in the food, beverage and cosmetics industries. In addition, the durability and light weight of PETG packaging reduces distribution costs associated with acrylic or glass packaging.

Clear plastic machine guards play important roles in workplace safety and quality control. More durable than acrylic and easier to form than polycarbonate, PETG machine guards are often used in food processing as well as other processing centers.

Machine Guards

Clear plastic machine guards play important roles in workplace safety and quality control. Workers can see what’s happening in a machine while being protected from moving parts and flying debris. More durable than acrylic and easier to form than polycarbonate, PETG machine guards are often used in food processing.

Everyday Users & Hobbyists

PETG printing has become more popular as more consumer-grade printers ship with heated print beds. Stronger and more flexible than PLA, PETG is more appropriate for everyday objects like smartphone cases. And unlike ABS, PETG does not require ventilation to remove noxious fumes making it safe for kids and pets to be around.

3D printing with PETG filament is gaining huge popularity. Its ability to withstand more force that PLA yet as easy to print as PLA, PETG can be used to make a number of house hold objects, toys, and much more.

Wind-up boat

With its durability and flexibility combined, PETG prints be used in a number of different areas including storage. You can use PETG filament to print storage drawers that will withstand a lot of impact and will be heat resistant.

storage drawers

PETG prints can also be used to help you in the kitchen, it can be used to make a hand grape slicer. PETG is generally a food safe plastic which makes its help in the kitchen very handy.

grape slicer

PETG benefits &
Characteristics

PETG 3D filament is gaining popularity because of its number of benefits. PETG is easy to print, just like PLA, and is as durable as ABS. PETG is also more flexible than both PLA and ABS making it a new choice for hobbyist and seasoned printers

petg print settings

PETG Benefits

When printed, PETG 3D filament does not emit a bad odor as other thermoplastics like ABS do. Its always recommended to have a well ventilated printing area.

odorless

PETG is among one of the most environmentally safe 3d printing materials on the market. Because of it PET base, PETG can be easily recycled.

environmentally safe

With no heat bed required, PETG is one of the most easiest filaments to print with. Paired with easy adhesion, PETG prints are sure to become you next favorite.

no heating bed required

advantages & disadvantages of petg

PETG plastic prints combines the best properties of PLA and ABS. You get strong parts that can support mechanical loads. PETG is naturally transparent which allows for unique effects. PETG’s odorless emissions are non-toxic.

advantages of petg

PETG combines the best properties of PLA and ABS. You get strong parts that can support mechanical loads. PETG is naturally transparent which allows for unique effects. Its transparency also accepts a wide range of colors and blends. And PETG’s odorless emissions are non-toxic making it appropriate for both home and office use.

PETG is more prone to oozing than PLA or ABS, you will have to experiment with retraction and bridging settings to get quality prints. PETG readily absorbs water if not stored properly. This will make parts more brittle, which are some disadvantages.

disadvantages of petg

Since PETG is more prone to oozing than PLA or ABS, you will have to experiment with retraction and bridging settings to get quality prints. Even then, you may need to do more post-processing to remove stringing and other blemishes. PETG readily absorbs water if not stored properly. This will make parts more brittle.

When printing with PETG, its important to note that not all filaments print alike. You must dial in your printer to be able to perform with PETG, which will make your printer run hotter than with any other material.

petg printing tips

Printers run hotter with PETG than with PLA: 230-260°C at the nozzle and 80-100°C on the bed. For best bed adhesion, use a PEI build plate and pause the part cooling fan for the first layers. Keep the print speed between 60mm/s and 100mm/s for consistent results. Avoid layer shifts by keeping the nozzle clean of PETG blobs.