Contoured 3D Printing of Fiber Reinforced Polymers

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Date

2016

Authors

Tse, L.Y.L.
Kapila, S.
Barton, K.

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University of Texas at Austin

Abstract

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a cost effective approach for small-scale production, providing higher design flexibility and less material waste than traditional manufacturing techniques. Polymers constitute one of the most popular AM materials, yielding lightweight but inherently weak components that cannot hold up against high tension and bending stresses. A need for improved tensile strength has driven a recent interest in AM of fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs). AM-FRPs reinforced with short fibers have demonstrated increased mechanical strength, but with limited design and structural flexibility. AM-FRPs reinforced with continuous fibers provide structural reinforcement within plane; as such, the fibers cannot be extruded along a contoured profile, significantly minimizing the application space for these AM-FRP devices. In this article, we address this current gap through the development of a new FRP additive manufacturing process that is capable of continuous fiber deposition along contoured trajectories. Experimental demonstrations validate the proposed process.

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