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BARS 2020, Research

Compression Test Correlation of 3D Printed Structures Using Finite Element Modelling

Name: Michael Walker

Mentor: Mahmoud Ardebili, PhD.

Abstract: The 3D printing revolution has led to many opportunities for structural and mechanical research that did not exist before the development of this technology. However, performing this basic research comes at a high cost in time and materials. Preparing and completing individual print runs for even small structures can take days and consume large amounts of materials for both the test structure itself and any supports needed to complete the production of complex three-dimensional shapes.

Additionally, the process of additive manufacturing itself can change the underlying properties of the base materials in unexpected ways due to the mechanics of the printing process. During the printing process, as the base material is heated and cooled and the printer generates the object layer-by-layer using a limited array of fill patterns, because of this small changes in the mechanical properties of the base materials are introduced.

In the lab, both solid and lattice structured materials were tested using both compression and high-speed impact tests. Using computer-based finite element modelling (FEM) in conjunction with the results of these laboratory tests of our selected 3D printed structures, we are correlating, in an accurate and reproducible way these manufacturing effects on structures generated by this new technology. By doing so, we are developing new methods to reduce time and materials waste during the research process.