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Expanding the applicability of FDM-type technologies through materials development

David Roberson (Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, United States.)
Corey M Shemelya (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, United States.)
Eric MacDonald (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, United States.)
Ryan Wicker (Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, United States.)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 16 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the strategy for increasing the applicability of material extrusion additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, based on fused deposition modeling (FDM), through the development of materials with targeted physical properties. Here, the authors demonstrate materials specifically developed for the manufacture of electromechanical and electromagnetic applications, the use of FDM-type processes in austere environments and the application of material extrusion AM.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a twin screw polymeric extrusion process, novel polymer matrix composites and blends were created where the base material was a material commonly used in FDM-type processes, namely, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or polycarbonate (PC).

Findings

The work presented here demonstrates that, through targeted materials development, the applicability of AM platforms based on FDM technology can be increased. Here, the authors demonstrate that that the physical properties of ABS and PC can be manipulated to be used in several applications such as electromagnetic and X-ray shielding. Other instances of the development of new materials for FDM led to mitigation of problems associated with the process such as surface finish and mechanical property anisotropy based on build orientation.

Originality/value

This paper is an overview of a research effort dedicated to increasing the amount of material systems available to material extrusion AM. Here materials development is shown to not only increase the number of suitable applications for FDM-type processes, but to be a pathway toward solving inherent problems associated with FDM such as surface finish and build orientation-caused mechanical property anisotropy.

Keywords

Citation

Roberson, D., Shemelya, C.M., MacDonald, E. and Wicker, R. (2015), "Expanding the applicability of FDM-type technologies through materials development", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 137-143. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-12-2014-0165

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited