Impact of printing orientation on inter and intra-layer bonds in 3D printed thermoplastic elastomers: a study using acoustic emission and tensile tests
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The use of the Material Extrusion technique with Thermoplastic Elastomers is currently growing because of the large number of benefits of this family of materials. They are processable materials with high flexibility, which makes them very useful, for example, in biomedical applications that require flexible objects with complex geometries. This study aims to characterize a specific polymer, namely polyether-block-amide-based polymer (PEBA), by analyzing its anisotropic behavior in printed samples and investigating the mechanical properties based on different printing orientations. Three orientations (X, Y, and Z) were used to relate the printing orientation to the type of bonds formed in the samples: intra-layer bonds, inter-layer bonds, and the deposited filament. Tensile tests following ASTM D638 were conducted to measure sample rigidity, while Acoustic Emission, an advanced Non-Destructive Technique, was employed to examine the trend of the failure process. The presence of voids was also observed to assess printing quality, which is influenced by the printing orientation and alters the quality of bonds. The results revealed that samples printed horizontally exhibited higher Young’s Modulus values and fewer voids in the inner parts. Vertically printed samples displayed inferior mechanical properties and a greater number of voids. Consequently, the intra-layer yielded better bond formation and minimized voids. Acoustic Emission analysis corroborated these findings by demonstrating distinct energy distribution patterns among the different printing orientations. Hits were concentrated at maximum stresses, primarily observed in the vertically printed samples, which experienced macroscopic failure. Furthermore, this particular specimen exhibited a vertical asymptote near the maximum stress level. The analysis of the energy of Acoustic Emission hits demonstrated a reasonably good fit with the Gutenberg-Richter (GBR) law based on the printing direction.
CitationAdrover, B. [et al.]. Impact of printing orientation on inter and intra-layer bonds in 3D printed thermoplastic elastomers: a study using acoustic emission and tensile tests. "Polymer", 22 Setembre 2023, vol. 283, article 126241.
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