Ultrasonic Embedding of Continuous Carbon Fiber into 3D printed Thermoplastic Parts

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Billah, Kazi Md Masum
Coronel, Jose L. Jr.
Chacon, Sarah
Wicker, Ryan B.
Espalin, David

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University of Texas at Austin


A novel multimaterial fabrication process was developed to embed continuous bundles of carbon fiber (CF) into polycarbonate (PC) substrates using ultrasonic energy. Continuous CF possesses superior reinforcement properties compared to that of chopped or short fibers. In this research, dry continuous CF bundles were impregnated with a PC solution prior to embedding. Three printing raster orientations were studied (0°, 45°, and 90°), where three layers of CCF were embedded within each test specimen. Characterizations including tensile, flexural, and dynamic mechanical analysis were carried out to investigate reinforcement related properties. Results showed an increase in ultimate tensile strength between neat PC (37 MPa) and CF reinforced specimens (141 MPa). An automated ultrasonic embedding process allowed for the selective deposition of CF, regardless of the raster orientation. Future development of continuous CF reinforced parts could enable smart part fabrication, with applications in structural health monitoring, microwave shielding, and thermal management.


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