Printed circuit boards, chemical etching, and computer numerical control milling currently dominate industrial processes for manufacturing microwave components. However, these manufacturing methods do not provide the flexibility for customization possible with additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing (AM) has the potential to fabricate microwave components for desired frequency ranges with less effort in prototyping and fabrication. Relative permittivity (
) of materials is a critical parameter in microwave component design, yet the value changes during the AM process. This article investigates how relative permittivity for nylon substrates, created with AM, changes with different infill densities and infill patterns. The measurement method and procedure can be used to design AM microwave components like antennas or dielectric-filled waveguides with desired characteristics. The two-microstrip-line method was used and improved for the accurate and convenient measurement of the relative permittivity of AM nylon substrates. Several nylon substrates with different infill patterns, including rectangular, hexagonal, triangular, and solid, were fabricated with AM to demonstrate how the relative permittivity value changes as the infill density increases. A linear relationship between the infill density of the rectangular pattern and the substrate permittivity was found. The permittivity data were applied to the design of a rectangular patch antenna for use in the 2.5-GHz WiMAX band. The fabricated antenna with AM, which was tested using a vector network analyzer, showed good agreement with simulation results. The method and procedure of permittivity measurements are specially designed to be applied in the design of microwave components with AM dielectric substrates.
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