What is PETG?

Polyethylene terephthalate glycol, commonly known as PETG or PET-G, is thermoplastic polyester that can resist significant contact with chemicals, is durable, and has the quality to adjust to any shape formation in the manufacturing process. Polyethylene terephthalate glycol can be easily vacuumed, air-pressured and bent using heat under low temperatures.

Due to these reasons, polyethylene terephthalate glycol is able to retain its position as a popular choice for making products for both end consumers as well as commercial objectives. Polyethylene terephthalate glycol applications also involve 3D printing and various manufacturing techniques including product formation through the use of heat or by blowing hot air into molds.

Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) also supports industrial fabrication methods such as routing, bending and die cutting.

Uses of PETG

Polyethylene terephthalate glycol can easily be used to serve in numerous ways and applications because of its properties like being resistant to chemicals and easy thermoforming.

Application in retail sector

Because polyethylene terephthalate glycol is easy to manufacture in a range of vivid colors and can be formed into various shapes, it is a reliable and most preferable option for the retail industry.

From using it as point of sale stands in supermarkets, display centers, malls and exhibitions to turning some of the unique concepts into reality when it comes to making eye catching and attractive labels and sign boards, polyethylene terephthalate glycol has much to offer in the retail sector of any industry.

And with the additional advantage of printing, customization solutions offered by polyethylene terephthalate glycol are remarkable and have the potential to stand out from its counterparts.

Application in making food gradable products

One of the most common areas where application of polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) has been a real and practical benefit is in the food packaging industry.

Polyethylene terephthalate glycol is enormously used in making single use and multiple usage food storage containers that are FDA compliant and bottles used for selling cooking oil and drinkable water.

Image by MMT from Pixabay

Application in medical and pharmaceutical sector

The world of medicine, health care and pharmaceutical today depends heavily on using polyethylene terephthalate glycol to serve a number of purposes.

Aside from using polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) to pack medical and pharmaceutical equipment, it is also a perfect choice material for making medical implants. Other than this, polyethylene terephthalate glycol is also able to withstand severe medical sterilization methods due to its rigid compositional structure.

Application in 3D printing

Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) is also the most preferred choice of those working with 3D printing.

With the increase in the number of consumers who are shifting towards using 3D printing as an inexpensive and comparatively cheaper solution to make product samples and prototypes of new inventions in any field, polyethylene terephthalate glycol filaments are gaining much traction.

Image by mebner1 from Pixabay

By employing the right settings in a 3D printer, polyethylene terephthalate glycol filaments can be easily printed, with each subsequent layer adding excellent adhesion. Using polyethylene terephthalate glycol filaments in printing also makes the whole printing process odorless as well.

Due to its property of having a less shrinkage rate than other materials such as ABS and PLA, larger print tasks can easily be executed with 3D printers.

Objects printed in 3D printers by using polyethylene terephthalate glycol filaments, also tend to survive high temperatures, can resist high pressure impact and are food safe as well. This is all possible because of the quality of the polyethylene terephthalate glycol to have high levels of strength and high resistance against chemicals.

Application in electrical equipment

The polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin is also commonly used in many electrical devices and equipment as an insulator.

Advantages and disadvantages of using PETG

Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) resin is a thermoplastic polymer which like any other form of plastic comprises many advantages and disadvantages. We have here tried to briefly explain a few of the important ones in the list below.

Advantages of using Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG)

  • Although different types of plastic become combustible at different temperatures when exposed to direct fire, polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin has the quality of being specially treated in order to make it non-combustible.
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin can be engineered to prevent any unwanted crystallization.
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol can be made to free it from any steaming or hazing effect which usually occurs during heating.
  • Products made from polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin offer superb clarity and visibility.
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin is 100% recyclable.
  • Products made from polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin do not have any taste or smell.
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin applications remain durable for temperatures as low as -20⁰
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin can resist solvents which mean it is less likely to dissolve from coming into contact with any chemical.
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin is also heat resistant.
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin can be made to become mechanically strong.
  • Products made from polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin can also resist shock impact and pressure.
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) filaments used in 3D printing, give smooth finishes to the object which is printed.
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol filaments are very flexible.
  • Objects printed in 3D printers which use polyethylene terephthalate glycol filaments, have fewer chances of twisting or deforming during or after the printing process.
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin filaments do not cost more than any other type of filaments available.

Disadvantages of using Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG)

  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin cannot be used in any kind of autoclave operations.
  • Products made from polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin have softer surfaces thus they are more likely to get scratches easily.
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin products cannot withstand damages from ultra violet light.
  • For 3D printing, polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin requires temperatures as high as 245⁰
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin can have stringing and stickiness issues.
  • 3D printer nozzles made of brass might get damaged while printing using polyethylene terephthalate glycol resins because of the reason that polyethylene terephthalate glycol resins require high temperatures during the 3D printing process.
  • In the case of using a 3D printer for printing any object, if your goal is to have sharp details and precisely made end product, then using polyethylene terephthalate glycol filaments is certainly not a suitable option in your case.

Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) FAQ’s

If you are still interested in knowing more about polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin, its features and its wide array of applications, we have gathered a list of some of the basic and frequently asked questions and answers that we think might help you.

1. How flexible is polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG)?

When compared to other most commonly used plastic filament materials like ABS and PLA which are used for 3D printing of objects, polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin filaments have an edge over both of its counterparts for being extremely durable and flexible.

2. Can PETG survive scratches?

Although polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) is a strong filament material for 3D printing, it still is not scratch resistant. If getting a scratch free product is your goal, then you should better a much harder form of filament material in your 3D printer such as ABS.

3. Is PETG a toxic substance?

No. Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) is totally free from toxins.

4. Is PETG microwave safe?

Yes. Because polyethylene terephthalate glycol is used in making food products and much like any other material in the PET polyester family such as PET and PETE, polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) is also safe to be used in a microwave. However, the heating temperature of a microwave must not exceed the limits within which using polyethylene terephthalate glycol is considered safe.

5. Is PETG bio-degradable?

Although the products made from polyethylene terephthalate glycol resin are easy to recycle and a few PETG brands claim their polyethylene terephthalate glycol filaments to be environmentally friendly, it is still not bio-degradable.

Benefits of using PETG – a comparison as against using PLA

While the basic purpose and a few properties of both PETG and PLA remain the same, there are still a number of benefits that give PETG an undoubting edge over PLA filaments when used in 3D printing.

1. Temperature resistance

While PETG can generally resist common temperatures of around 75⁰ C, a few blends of PETG can tolerate temperatures as high as up to 250⁰ C. Contrary to this, the general temperature limit when using PLA filaments is to keep temperatures below 55⁰ C to avoid the object from losing its solid state.

2. Physical strength

Objects printed with PETG filaments usually have higher physical strength than those made using PLA.

3. Opacity

Opacity or transparency in objects printed using 3D printers can easily be achieved by using PETG filaments. The same is not true for PLA filaments.

4. Environmental tolerance

Objects 3D printed with PETG filament have a better chance to tolerate environmental threats of wear and tear especially when used in an outdoor setting where such objects are more exposed to weather and direct sunlight.

While objects 3D printed using PLA do not allow such resistance, they can still be made durable by coating them with a weather resistant paint for better protection from direct sunlight and weather.

5. Complex shapes and objects

This is one of the points where object 3D printing involving PETG lacks. If you plan to PETG filaments, do not ever expect the end product to have fine attributes, sharp edges and cuts, clear on details and smooth surface. Due to lacking, PETG filaments are also not suitable to print complex and complicated shapes and objects.

On the other hand, PLA filaments can prove to be an excellent choice to get the most desirable and practical results from 3D printing.

6. Color matching

When it comes to getting the same colors in your 3D printed object as you see on your computer screen, PLA again beats PETG filaments. Only PLA filaments have the feature to bring exact colors to the printed object when compared with PETG.

7. Bio-degradable

Since objects 3D printed using PLA filaments cannot withstand continuous weather and sun exposure in outdoor places for longer periods of time, they will eventually return to their natural components. Hence, this disadvantage is probably an environmental advantage in disguise.

Objects 3D printed using PETG filaments work totally against this quality of PLA.

8. Recyclable

Another drawback of PETG is that while it is totally recyclable, it still is not an easy process. Whereas on the other hand, PLA cannot only be recycled easily and made into new filaments, it also does not lose any quality during this process.

9. Actual resemblance

Objects 3D printed using PLA filaments have this quality resembling any real object. This is because of a variety of material blends in which PLA filaments are readily available.

For example, printing a 3D bronze kettle with PLA filaments will look much like an actual and real bronze kettle.

Actual resemblance or mimicking is not possible with PETG filaments.