Fused deposition modeling possesses great advantages in fabricating high performance composites with controllable structural designs. As such, it has attracted attention from medical, automatic, and aerospace fields. In this paper, the influence of short carbon fibers (SCFs) and the orthogonal building orientation on the flexural properties of printed polyether ether ketone (PEEK) composites are systematically studied. The results show that the addition of SCFs raises the uniform nucleation process of PEEK during 3D printing, decreases the layer-to-layer bonding strength, and greatly changes the fracture mode. The flexural strength of vertically printed PEEK and its CF-reinforced composites show strengths that are as high as molded composites. X-ray micro-computed tomography reveals the microstructure of the printed composites and the transformation of pores during bending tests, which provides evidence for the good mechanical properties of the vertically printed composites. The effect of multi-scale factors on the mechanical properties of the composites, such as crystallization in different positions, layer-by-layer bonding, and porosity, provide a successful interpretation of their fracture modes. This work provides a promising and cost-effective method to fabricate 3D printed composites with tailored, orientation-dependent properties.
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