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A comprehensive assessment on the impact of post-processing variables on tensile, compressive and bending characteristics for 3D printed components

David Impens (Department of Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada)
R.J. Urbanic (Department of Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 18 April 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to characterize mechanical properties (tensile, compressive and flexural) for the three-dimensional printing (3DP) process, using various common recommended infiltrate materials and post-processing conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review is conducted to assess the information available related to the mechanical properties, as well as the experimental methodologies which have been used when investigating the 3D printing process characteristics. Test samples are designed, and a methodology to measure infiltrate depths is presented. A full factorial experiment is conducted to collect the tensile, compressive and bending forces for a set of infiltrates and build orientations. The impact of the infiltrate type and depth with respect to the observed strength characteristics is evaluated.

Findings

For most brittle materials, the ultimate compression strength is much larger than the ultimate tensile strength, which is shown in this work. Unique stress–strain curves are generated from the infiltrate and build orientation conditions; however, the compressive strength trends are more consistent in behavior compared to the tensile and flexural results. This comprehensive study shows that infiltrates can significantly improve the mechanical characteristics, but performance degradation can also occur, which occurred with the Epsom salts infiltrates.

Research limitations/implications

More experimental research needs to be performed to develop predictive models for design and fabrication optimization. The material-infiltrate performance characteristics vary per build orientation; hence, experimental testing should be performed on intermediate angles, and a double angle experiment set should also be conducted. By conducting multiple test scenarios, it is now understood that this base material-infiltrate combination does not react similar to other materials, and any performance characteristics cannot be easily predicted from just one study.

Practical implications

These results provide a foundation for a process design and post-processing configuration database, and downstream design and optimization models. This research illustrates that there is no “best” solution when considering material costs, processing options, safety issues and strength considerations. This research also shows that specific testing is required for new machine–material–infiltrate combinations to calibrate a performance model.

Originality/value

There is limited published data with respect to the strength characteristics that can be achieved using the 3DP process. No published data with respect to stress–strain curves are available. This research presents tensile, compressive and flexural strength and strain behaviors for a wide variety of infiltrates, and post-processing conditions. A simple, unique process is presented to measure infiltrate depths. The observed behaviors are non-linear and unpredictable.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the University of Windsor and the Government of Ontario, Canada (SSI equipment grant), for the opportunity to conduct the research. Special thanks go to the University of Windsor Deformable test lab and their personnel for the help they have provided throughout this project.

Citation

Impens, D. and Urbanic, R.J. (2016), "A comprehensive assessment on the impact of post-processing variables on tensile, compressive and bending characteristics for 3D printed components", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 591-608. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-02-2015-0018

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited