Maximizing the performance of 3D printed fiber-reinforced composites

May 03, 2021

S M Fijul Kabir (1), Kavita Mathur (1), Abdel-Fattah M. Seyam (1)
Journal of Composites Science, 5, Issue 5, May 2021: 136. DOI: 10.3390/jcs5050136


fiber volume fraction; 3D printing; fiber-reinforced composites; fiber orientations; tensile properties; impact resistance; failure mechanism


Fiber-reinforced 3D printing technology offers significant improvement in the mechanical properties of the resulting composites relative to 3D printed (3DP) polymer-based composites. However, 3DP fiber-reinforced composite structures suffer from low fiber content compared to the traditional composite, such as 3D orthogonal woven preforms solidified with vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) that impedes their high-performance applications such as in aerospace, automobile, marine and building industries. The present research included fabrication of 3DP fiberglass-reinforced nylon composites, with maximum possible fiber content dictated by the current 3D printing technology at varying fiber orientations (such as 0/0, 0/90, ±45 and 0/45/90/−45) and characterizing their microstructural and performance properties, such as tensile and impact resistance (Drop-weight, Izod and Charpy). Results indicated that fiber orientation with maximum fiber content have tremendous effect on the improvement of the performance of the 3DP composites, even though they inherently contain structural defects in terms of voids resulting in prematureà failure of the composites. Benchmarking the results with VARTM 3D orthogonal woven (3DOW) composites revealed that 3DP composites had slightly lower tensile strength due to poor matrix infusion and voids between adjacent fiber layers/raster, and delamination due to lack of throughthickness reinforcement, but excellent impact strength (224% more strong) due to favorable effect of structural voids and having a laminated structure developed in layer-by-layer fashion.

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Author Affiliation

(1) Wilson College of Textiles, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27965, USA.