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Effect of carbon fiber reinforcement on dimensional variations of 3D printed polyamide-6 composites: A simulation study.

Due to material design and fabrication flexibility, additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing (3DP) processes and polymer composites have paved their way into several industrial sectors. The quality of 3D printed polymer composites is highly dependent on the reinforcement content of polymers and 3DP process parameters. Several experimental studies are performed to optimize the reinforcement contents and process parameters; however, exploring the numerical modeling and simulation techniques is vital to lower the research and development costs. In the study, the numerical simulations for the 3DP process were performed using Digimat® software for carbon fiber-reinforced polyamide-6 (PA6) composites fabricated via the fused filament fabrication (FFF) process to evaluate the effect of reinforcement content on deflections, warpages, and process-induced residual stresses. The FFF process simulations were performed to fabricate tensile testing coupons with pure PA6 and 10%-28% CF-reinforced PA6 composites. A significant impact of CF-reinforcement was observed on the deflections, warpages, and residual stresses. The maximum displacement of 4.518 mm and critical warpage of 3.012 was observed for pure PA6 material. However, with the addition of CF reinforcement, a maximum deflection of 3.369 mm and critical warpage of 2.246 was achieved for PA6 reinforced with 28% CF (PA6-CF28). The improved 3D printed specimen quality was acquired at the cost of increased residual stresses of 14.53 MPa compared to 11.75 MPa in pure PA6 specimen. The CF reinforcement significantly improved the 3DP manufacturing performance of PA6/CF composites, reducing deflections and warpages.

Open Access