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Experimental Analysis of Plastic-Based Composites Made by Composite Plastic Manufacturing

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 15:50 authored by Raghunath Bhaskar, Javaid Butt, Hassan Shirvani
The significance of composites cannot be overstated in the manufacturing sector due to their unique properties and high strength-to-weight ratio. The use of thermoplastics for composites manufacturing is also gaining attention due to their availability, ease of operation, and affordability. However, the current methods for plastic-based composites are limited due to the requirements of long curing times and pre- and post-treatment, thereby resulting in longer lead times for the desired product. These methods also limit the freedom to operate with different forms of materials. Therefore, a new manufacturing process for plastic-based composites is required to overcome such limitations. This research presents a new manufacturing process to produce high-quality plastic-based composites with bespoke properties for engineering applications. The process is referred to as Composite Plastic Manufacturing (CPM) and is based on the principle of fused filament fabrication (FFF) equipped with a heat chamber. The process integrates two material extrusion additive manufacturing technologies, i.e., filament and syringe extrusion. The paper presents the principle of the process, both in theory and in practice, along with the methodology and materials used to manufacture plastic composites. Various composites have been manufactured using the CPM process with thermally activated materials and tested according to British and International standards. Polylactic Acid (PLA) has been interlaced with different thermally activated materials such as graphene-carbon hybrid paste, heat cure epoxy paste, and graphene epoxy paste. The process is validated through a comparative experimental analysis involving tests such as ultrasonic, tensile, microstructural, and hardness to demonstrate its capabilities. The results have been compared with commercially available materials (PLA and Graphene-enhanced PLA) as well as literature to establish the superiority of the CPM process. The CPM composites showed an increase of up to 10.4% in their tensile strength (54 MPa) and 8% in their hardness values (81 HD) when compared to commercially available PLA material. The composites manufactured by CPM have also shown strong bonding between the layers of PLA and thermally activated materials; thus, highlighting the effectiveness of the process. Furthermore, the composites showed a significant increase of up to 29.8% in their tensile strength and 24.6% in their hardness values when compared to commercially available Graphene-enhanced PLA material. The results show that the CPM process is capable of manufacturing superior quality plastic composites and can be used to produce products with bespoke properties.



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Journal of Composites Science





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Faculty of Science & Engineering

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