Estimating Powder-Polymer Material Properties Used in Design for Metal Fused Filament Fabrication (DfMF3)
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Metal fused filament fabrication (MF3) combines fused filament fabrication and sintering processes to fabricate complex metal components. In MF3, powder-polymer mixtures are printed to produce green parts that are subsequently debound and sintered. In the design for MF3 (DfMF3), it is important to understand how material properties of the filament affect processability, part quality, and ensuing properties. However, the materials property database of powder-polymer materials to perform DfMF3 simulations is very limited, and experimental measurements can be expensive and time-consuming. This work investigates models that can predict the powder-polymer material properties that are required as input parameters for simulating the MF3 using the Digimat-AM® process design platform for fused filament fabrication. Ti-6Al-4V alloy (56–60 vol.%) and a multicomponent polymer binder were used to predict properties such as density, specific heat, thermal conductivity, Young’s modulus, and viscosity. The estimated material properties were used to conduct DfMF3 simulations to understand material-processing-geometry interactions.
The authors acknowledge financial assistance from the Minority Business Development Agency of the US Department of Commerce as well as NASA through a subcontract from Techshot. The authors also acknowledge MSC Software, AlphaSTAR, and Vanderplaats R&D for their support in providing AM software platforms.
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