AMB2018-03: Benchmark Physical Property Measurements for Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing of Polycarbonate


Material extrusion (MatEx) is finding increasing applications in additive manufacturing of thermoplastics due to the ease of use and the ability to process disparate polymers. Since part strength is anisotropic and frequently deviates negatively with respect to parts produced by injection molding, an urgent challenge is to predict final properties of parts made through this method. A nascent effort is underway to develop theoretical and computational models of MatEx part properties, but these efforts require comprehensive experimental data for guidance and validation. As part of the AM-Bench framework, we provide here a thorough set of measurements on a model system: polycarbonate printed in a simple rectangular shape. For the precursor material (as-received filament), we perform rheology, gel permeation chromatography, and dynamical mechanical analysis, to ascertain critical material parameters such as molar mass distribution, glass transition, and shear thinning. Following processing, we conduct X-ray computed tomography, scanning electron microscopy, depth sensing indentation, and atomic force microscopy modulus mapping. These measurements provide information related to pores, method of failure, and local modulus variations. Finally, we conduct tensile testing to assess strength and degree of anisotropy of mechanical properties. We find several effects that lead to degradation of tensile properties including the presence of pore networks, poor interfacial bonding, variations in interfacial mechanical behavior between rasters, and variable interaction of the neighboring builds within the melt state. The results provide insight into the processing–structure–property relationships and should serve as benchmarks for the development of mechanical models.

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The authors would like to acknowledge useful discussions with Rachel Andrulonis at the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), Erich Bain at CCDC Army Research Laboratory, and Vicky Nguyen and Sung Hoon Kang at Johns Hopkins University.

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Correspondence to Daniel P. Cole.

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Cole, D.P., Gardea, F., Henry, T.C. et al. AMB2018-03: Benchmark Physical Property Measurements for Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing of Polycarbonate. Integr Mater Manuf Innov (2020).

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  • Additive manufacturing
  • Thermoplastic material extrusion
  • Fused deposition modeling
  • FDM
  • 3-D printing
  • X-ray computed tomography
  • Rheology
  • Polycarbonate
  • AM-bench