If this is the first time you hear this name, you are in luck because today you are going to be surprised. PCL is a thermoplastic plastic that we can mold with our hands when heating it around 60ºC and that hardens in the cold and we can repeat the process over and over again, hundreds of times.
As it cools, it becomes hard and tenacious, does not conduct electricity or heat, is non-toxic and biodegradable. It seems the perfect solution for our inventions doesn't it?
To me reminds me of the Sugru, but being able to reuse it and it seems that it is more difficult to manipulate. Although of course being able to reuse it over and over again is a very important point.
See how magic happens….
If we get more technical, the PCL or polycaprolactone (polycaprolactone) is a biodegradable polyester, a thermoplastic polymer. It has a low melting point so above 60ºC it becomes malleable. Being thermoplastic we can heat it to reuse it as many times as we want, until it degrades.
If you want information about the polymer, go to Wikipedia .
Main uses of PCL
It has several interesting uses, leaving aside that it is used as an additive with other polymers, etc.
It's used in medicine, they create thread for surgery that the body is then able to absorb. Polycaprolactone takes a couple of years to absorb, but there is a faster variant.
And then there is the use that interests us for hobbies for a plastic to mold with your hands, to develop any invention or make repairs. From pieces for our projects, (kites, radio control, robots) to molds or as "glue" to join different pieces.
There are also colorants to give color to our creations.
Its use is left to our imagination. What I still haven't found is how to synthesize it in a homemade way in the home kitchen, which does not have to be able to make an eye, and I do not know if it will be worth trying to create our own instead of buying it.
PCL can be obtained by the open ring polymerization of ε-caprolactone, using a catalyst such as tin octanate.
But if someone knows how to do it write to us please.
We can find it under different commercial names depending on the country of sale, but in the end it is still PCL, yes, perhaps with different purity, we should look at it. So if you are looking for PCL or Polycaprolactone take a look at these brands.
- Hand Moldable Plastic, (USA)
- Mold-Your-Own Grips, (USA)
- Simple-Plastic, (USA)
- InstaMorph, (USA)
- Shapelock, (USA)
- Missing Link (USA)
- Friendly Plastic (USA)
- Polymorph in the UK,
- Plastimake in Australia,
- Protoplast in the Netherlands,
- Plastiform in France
- Plastypoly (Spain)
Where to buy Polycaprolactone in Spain
Here in Spain there is Plastypoly that they sell through ebay, which seems quite expensive compared to some other brand. If you want Plymorph you have a good price here!
Yes, I am waiting for it to come to me to do tests and things that I have in mind and I will come with some interesting reviews and experiments.