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Title: Effects of Environmental Temperature and Humidity on the Geometry and Strength of Polycarbonate Specimens Prepared by Fused Filament Fabrication
It is widely known that the printing quality of fused filament fabrication (FFF) is heavily affected by environmental temperature and humidity, taking the form of warping and porosity. However, there is little understanding about the quantitative relations between environmental conditions, geometry, and the mechanical properties of printed parts. In this study, we systematically investigated those relations using bisphenol A polycarbonate as a model material system. For the environmental temperature, an in-situ infrared imaging analysis revealed the presence of an up to 5.4 °C/mm thermal gradient when printing using an open-chamber printer and a heated build plate. For the environmental humidity, an analysis of X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) scans showed an up to 11.7% porosity that was brought by polymer water content absorbed from environmental moisture. Meanwhile, tensile tests showed a mechanical performance loss associated with those defects, but, surprisingly, the transverse direction ductility had the potential to increase at a higher porosity. Furthermore, the experimental results were combined with analytical and parametrical studies to elucidate quantitative relations between environmental conditions and printing quality. Based on the results, quantitative guidelines for the estimation of printing quality based on environmental conditions are provided that would also help users to obtain desired printing results with a better understanding of the effects of environmental conditions.  more » « less
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