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J. Compos. Sci. 2017, 1(1), 7; doi:10.3390/jcs1010007

Characterizing the Mechanical Properties of Fused Deposition Modelling Natural Fiber Recycled Polypropylene Composites

School of Engineering, University of Waikato, Hamilton 3216, New Zealand
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Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 14 July 2017 / Accepted: 19 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017

Abstract

The objective of this investigation was to characterize the performance of natural fiber reinforced polypropylene composites in fused deposition modelling (FDM). Composite filaments comprising of pre-consumer recycled polypropylene with varying contents of hemp or harakeke fibers were extruded from which tensile test specimens were made using FDM. Filament and test specimens were tensile tested and properties were compared with plain polypropylene samples; the ultimate tensile strength and Young’s modulus of reinforced filament increased by more than 50% and 143%, respectively, for both 30 wt % hemp or harakeke compared to polypropylene filament. However, the same degree of improvement was not seen with the FDM test specimens, with several compositions having properties lower than for unfilled polypropylene. SEM analysis of fracture surfaces revealed uniform fiber dispersion and reasonable fiber alignment, but porosity and fiber pull-out were also observed. Fiber reinforcement was found to give benefit regarding dimensional stability during extrusion and FDM, which is of major importance for its implementation in FDM. Recommendations for optimization of processing in order to enhance build quality and improve mechanical properties are provided. View Full-Text
Keywords: 3D printing; natural fiber; composite; fused deposition modelling; recycled plastic 3D printing; natural fiber; composite; fused deposition modelling; recycled plastic
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Milosevic, M.; Stoof, D.; Pickering, K.L. Characterizing the Mechanical Properties of Fused Deposition Modelling Natural Fiber Recycled Polypropylene Composites. J. Compos. Sci. 2017, 1, 7.

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