What is the Difference Between PLA and PLA+

The main difference between PLA and PLA+ is that PLA+, or Polylactic Acid Plus, typically contains additional additives like polymers and/or fibers, making it more durable and less brittle compared to standard PLA.

PLA (Polylactic Acid) and PLA+ (Polylactic Acid Plus) are two variants of polylactic acid, a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources. Both PLA and PLA+ share a commitment to environmental sustainability, biodegradability, and versatility in applications.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is PLA  
      – Definition, Features, Applications
2. What is PLA+
      – Definition, Features, Applications 
3. Similarities Between PLA and PLA+
      – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between PLA and PLA+
      – Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ: PLA and PLA+
      – Frequently Asked Questions

Key Terms

PLA, PLA+, Polylactic Acid

Difference Between PLA and PLA+ - Comparison Summary

What is PLA

PLA, or Polylactic Acid, is a prominent bio-based polymer known for its eco-friendly attributes. Derived from renewable resources like corn starch or sugarcane, PLA is a sustainable alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics. Its biodegradable nature and its ability to break down into harmless byproducts make PLA popular among environmentally conscious materials.

Manufacturing PLA involves a multi-step process, beginning with the fermentation of sugars to produce lactic acid, which serves as the building block for the polymer. This contrasts sharply with conventional plastics derived from fossil fuels, contributing significantly to reducing the carbon footprint associated with plastic production.

Versatility is another key characteristic of PLA. It finds application in various industries, including packaging, textiles, and medical devices. Its biocompatibility makes it suitable for medical implants that gradually dissolve within the body, eliminating the need for additional surgeries for removal. In packaging, PLA has gained popularity for its compostable nature, aligning with the growing demand for sustainable packaging solutions.

Compare PLA and PLA+

Despite its ecological benefits, PLA faces challenges. Its production relies heavily on monoculture crops, potentially impacting food production and raising concerns about agricultural practices. Additionally, PLA requires specific conditions for efficient biodegradation, and in some cases, it may persist in certain environments.

What is PLA+

PLA+ is an enhanced version of polylactic acid (PLA), a popular biodegradable and bioactive thermoplastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane. The “plus” in PLA+ signifies improvements made to address some of the limitations associated with traditional PLA.

One key enhancement in PLA+ is its increased strength and durability compared to standard PLA. This improvement makes PLA+ more suitable for a broader range of applications, including functional prototypes, mechanical parts, and 3D printing projects where higher structural integrity is required.

PLA+ retains the environmental benefits of PLA, being biodegradable and compostable. It degrades into non-toxic components, contributing to reduced environmental impact compared to conventional plastics. The use of renewable resources in its production also aligns with sustainable practices.

Another notable feature of PLA+ is its enhanced printability. With improved layer adhesion and reduced warping during the printing process, PLA+ provides a smoother and more reliable 3D printing experience. This makes it an attractive choice for those seeking a user-friendly filament with enhanced performance characteristics.

While PLA+ offers advantages over standard PLA, it’s essential to consider specific printing parameters, as some adjustments may be needed to optimize results. Additionally, PLA+ typically comes in a variety of colors, allowing for creative and aesthetically pleasing 3D prints.

Similarities Between PLA and PLA+

  • Both are thermoplastic polymers used in 3D printing.
  • They share the environmentally friendly trait of biodegradability.

Difference Between PLA and PLA+


Pure PLA is a thermoplastic polymer made from renewable resources like corn starch. It’s biodegradable and generally eco-friendly. PLA+ includes additional additives and modifiers, which often enhance the strength, flexibility, and durability of the filament.


Standard PLA is known for its ease of use but may lack the strength needed for certain applications. However, PLA+ is engineered to be stronger and more durable than regular PLA. It can withstand higher stress and is less prone to brittleness.


PLA prints usually have a glossy finish. But PLA+ can have a smoother and more polished finish, contributing to improved aesthetics of printed objects.


What happens to PLA plus in high-heat situations?

PLA filament tends to deform or melt in high-heat situations.

Is PLA+ cheaper than PLA?

No, PLA is more expensive than PLA.

What is an advantage of PLA?

PLA + has a better adhesion.


PLA (Polylactic Acid) and PLA+ (Polylactic Acid Plus) are two thermoplastic polymers that are biodegradable. The main difference between PLA and PLA+ is that PLA+ typically contains additional additives like polymers and/or fibers, which makes it more durable and less brittle than standard PLA.


1.  “Polylactide – An Overview.” Science Direct.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Polylactid sceletal” By Polimerek – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasini A

Hasini is a graduate of Applied Science with a strong background in forestry, environmental science, chemistry, and management science. She is an amateur photographer with a keen interest in exploring the wonders of nature and science.

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