Effect of Temperature on the Mechanical Properties of 3DPrinted PLA Tensile Specimens
Purpose: Recent advancements of 3D printing technology have brought forward the interest for this technique in many engineering fields. This study aims to focus on mechanical properties of the polylactic acid (PLA) feeding material under different thermal conditions for a typical fusion deposition of 3D printer system. Design/methodology/approach: Specimens were tested under static loading within the range 20ºC to 60ºC considering different infill orientations. The combined effect of temperature and filament orientation is investigated in terms of constitutive material parameters and final failure mechanisms. The difference between feeding system before and post-3D printing was also assessed by mechanical test on feeding filament to verify the thermal profile during the deposition phase. Findings: The results in terms of Young’s modulus, ultimate tensile strength (UTS), strain at failure (εf) and stress at failure (σf) are presented and discussed to study the influence of process settings over the final deposited material. Fracture surfaces have been investigated using an optical microscope to link the phenomenological interpretation of the failure with the micro-mechanical behaviour. Experimental results show a strong correlation between stiffness and strength with the infill orientation and the temperature values. Moreover, a relevant effect is related to deformed geometry of the filament approaching glass transition region of the polymer according to the deposition orientation. Research limitations/implications: The developed method can be applied to optimise the stiffness and strength of any 3D-printed composite according to the infill orientation. Practical implications: To avoid the failure of specimens outside the gauge length, a previously proposed modification to the geometry was adopted. The geometry has a parabolic profile with a curvature of 1,000 mm tangent to the middle part of the specimen. Originality/value: Several authors have reported the stiffness and strength of 3D-printed parts under static and ambient temperature for different build parameters. However, there is a lack of literature on the combination of the latter with the temperature effects on the mechanical properties which this paper covers.