Effect of the Print Bed Temperature on Void Distribution within the Microstructure of Short Carbon Fiber Reinforced/ABS Manufactured via Large Area Additive Manufacturing

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University of Texas at Austin


Short carbon fiber-reinforced polymer composite structures produced using Large Area Additive Manufacturing (LAAM) have garnered significant attention due to the design flexibility, energy savings, and materials selection associated with this process. However, the physical and mechanical properties of the additively manufactured composite parts often fall below expectations due to void formation between printed beads and within the microstructure of individual beads. This study aims to investigate the effect of bed temperature on the microstructure within the beads of two-layer Short Carbon Fiber reinforced Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (SCF/ABS) beads manufactured via the LAAM system. This study employs high-resolution 3D micro-computed tomography (µCT) to evaluate the void shape and distribution within the microstructure of composite parts printed at various bed temperatures. The results of this study demonstrate substantial variation in the void volume fraction among four bead sets deposited at different print bed temperatures. Moreover, within each part, a noticeable discrepancy in void volume fraction is observed between the top and bottom bead of the two-bead test samples. Preliminary results indicate that increasing the bed temperature from 25°C to 75°C reduces void volume fraction within the microstructure of the composite parts. However, an opposite trend emerges when the bed temperature is further increased to 100°C, increasing void volume fraction, which needs further investigation to understand. This study also evaluated the void shapes through the calculation of their sphericity. The preliminary results reveal that as the bed temperature increases from 25°C to 75°C, the voids exhibit higher sphericity within the printed parts as the interconnected voids decrease.


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