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Title: 3D printing of biofiber-reinforced composites and their mechanical properties: a review
Purpose This paper aims to summarize the up-to-date research performed on combinations of various biofibers and resin systems used in different three-dimensional (3D) printing technologies, including powder-based, material extrusion, solid-sheet and liquid-based systems. Detailed information about each process, including materials used and process design, are described, with the resultant products’ mechanical properties compared with those of 3D-printed parts produced from pure resin or different material combinations. In most processes introduced in this paper, biofibers are beneficial in improving the mechanical properties of 3D-printed parts and the biodegradability of the parts made using these green materials is also greatly improved. However, research on 3D printing of biofiber-reinforced composites is still far from complete, and there are still many further studies and research areas that could be explored in the future. Design/methodology/approach The paper starts with an overview of the current scenario of the composite manufacturing industry and then the problems of advanced composite materials are pointed out, followed by an introduction of biocomposites. The main body of the paper covers literature reviews of recently emerged 3D printing technologies that were applied to biofiber-reinforced composite materials. This part is classified into subsections based on the form of the starting materials used in the 3D printing process. A comprehensive conclusion is drawn at the end of the paper summarizing the findings by the authors. Findings Most of the biofiber-reinforced 3D-printed products exhibited improved mechanical properties than products printed using pure resin, indicating that biofibers are good replacements for synthetic ones. However, synthetic fibers are far from being completely replaced by biofibers due to several of their disadvantages including higher moisture absorbance, lower thermal stability and mechanical properties. Many studies are being performed to solve these problems, yet there are still some 3D printing technologies in which research concerning biofiber-reinforced composite parts is quite limited. This paper unveils potential research directions that would further develop 3D printing in a sustainable manner. Originality/value This paper is a summary of attempts to use biofibers as reinforcements together with different resin systems as the starting material for 3D printing processes, and most of the currently available 3D printing techniques are included herein. All of these attempts are solutions to some principal problems with current 3D printing processes such as the limit in the variety of materials and the poor mechanical performance of 3D printed parts. Various types of biofibers are involved in these studies. This paper unveils potential research directions that would further widen the use of biofibers in 3D printing in a sustainable manner.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Rapid Prototyping Journal
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1113 to 1129
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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