Investigating the Influence of Material Extrusion Rates and Line Widths on FFF-Printed Graphene-Enhanced PLA
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 15:53 authored by Javaid Butt, Raghunath Bhaskar, Vahaj Mohaghegh
Fused filament fabrication (FFF) is a widely used additive manufacturing process that can produce parts from thermoplastics. Its ease of operation and wide variety of materials make it a popular choice for manufacturing. To leverage such benefits, the commonly used thermoplastics (e.g., PLA and ABS) are impregnated with nanoparticles, short or continuous fibers, and other additives. The addition of graphene nanoplatelets to PLA makes for a high-quality filament possessing enhanced mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. Even with the advancement in materials, the optimisation of the process parameter remains the most complex aspect for FFF. Therefore, this study investigates the influence of two under-researched and overlooked processing parameters (material extrusion rates and line widths) on commercially available graphene-enhanced PLA (GPLA). Nine different material extrusion rates (70% to 150%) and five different line widths (0.2 mm to 1 mm) were used to manufacture GPLA specimens using a low-cost, desktop-based 3D printer, as per British and international standards. The study analyses the influence of these two processing parameters on mass, dimensional accuracy, surface texture, and mechanical properties of GPLA specimens. A non-destructive test has also been conducted and correlated with three-point flexural test to establish its applicability in evaluating flexural properties of GPLA. The results how that small line widths provide more accuracy with longer print times whereas large line widths offer more strength with shorter printing times. Increase in material extrusion rates adversely affect the surface finish and hardness but positively influence the flexural strength of GPLA specimens. The study shows that the manipulation of material extrusion rates and line widths can help designers in understanding the limitations of the default printing settings (100% material extrusion rate and 0.4 mm line width) on most desktop 3D printers and identifying the optimal combination to achieve desired properties using the FFF process.
Publication titleJournal of Manufacturing and Materials Processing
- Published version