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Investigating the Impact of Acetone Vapor Smoothing on the Strength and Elongation of Printed ABS Parts

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Acetone vapor smoothing is a chemical treatment that “melts” the surface of additively manufactured acrylonitrile butadiene styrene parts. The process fuses layers together and allows them to reform when vapor is removed, resulting in a smooth surface finish. Although commonly used to improve aesthetics, recent work has begun to investigate the effects of vapor smoothing on part strength. Nevertheless, most of this work has failed to take into account the anisotropic nature of printed parts. Prior research has shown that vapor smoothing reduces strength under best-case loading conditions, when the tensile load is parallel with the direction of the layers. In this article, the authors hypothesize that vapor smoothing may increase strength under nonoptimal loading conditions as a result of increased cohesion between layers and a reduction in stress concentrations. They use a design of experiments approach to identify the combined impact of printing and vapor smoothing parameters on part material properties.

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The authors would like to thank the Penn State Multi-Campus Research Experience for Undergraduates program for providing funding to support this research. Additionally, the authors would like to thank David Shelleman for assisting with operation of the Instron system.

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Correspondence to Nicholas A. Meisel.

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Gao, H., Kaweesa, D.V., Moore, J. et al. Investigating the Impact of Acetone Vapor Smoothing on the Strength and Elongation of Printed ABS Parts. JOM 69, 580–585 (2017).

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