PLA is produced from renewable resources including the sugar in maize and sugarcane. The sugar is fermented and turned into lactic acid, which is then turned into polylactic acid. PLA is the most popular 3D printing material for FDM technology and can be easily sanded and painted with acrylic. Outside of additive manufacturing, this plastic is found in food containers, candy wrappers, and biodegradable medical implants such as sutures. PLA is soluble in chlorinated solvents, hot benzene, tetrahydrofuran, and dioxane.

Common Uses

Production of tubes

Food packaging


Surgical threads

Surgical pins

PLA Advantages

Can be solvent welded using dichloromethane

Environmentally friendly

Can be used for food containers

PLA Disadvantages

Machine processing is difficult

Low heat resistance

Relevantly low strength