Advanced Additive Processes and 3D Printing for Polymer Composites

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Processing and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2023) | Viewed by 33080

Special Issue Editors

School of Automotive Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Structural Analysis for Industrial Equipment, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China
Interests: 3D printing; fiber reinforced polymer composites
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National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT–CIDESI), National Center for Aeronautic Technologies (CENTA), Carretera Estatal 200, km 23, Querétaro 76265, Mexico
Interests: composites recycling; fracture behavior; polymer layered silicates; extrusion; additive manufacturing
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Junior Research Group Nanomaterias, Faculty of Engineering and Mathematics, Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, Interaktion 1, 33619 Bielefeld, Germany
Interests: carbon nanofibers; needle-free electrospinning; mycelium Pleurotus Ostreatus /polymer nano-composites; 3D printing; 2D/ 3D design process; pattern design; fashion design; smart textiles
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Additive manufacturing (AM) technology significantly impacts the modern world due to its ability to manufacture highly complex geometries. Three-/four-dimensional printing has innovative advantages, including low cost, minimal waste, custom geometry, and ease of material changeover with applications in the aerospace, automotive, biomedical, and electronic fields. AM techniques are mainly fused deposition modeling (FDM), liquid powder 3D printing (PLP), selective laser sintering (SLS), stereolithography (SLA), digital light processing (DLP), and robocasting. The range of polymers used in AM covers thermoplastics, thermosets, elastomers, hydrogels, functional polymers, recycled polymers, and green composites. Combining cutting-edge 3D/4D printing technologies with innovative materials is driving disruptive research advances, impacting the development of custom multifunctional capabilities demanded in domains ranging from aerospace to biomedical fields. However, significant challenges still lie ahead, and material selection, multi-material printing, print scalability, material processability, structure integrity, and stability still need to be resolved before we can adopt 3D/4D printing technologies on a much larger scale.

Four-dimensional technology is considered an upgrade of 3D printing technology as it introduces time as the fourth dimension. Materials which are 4D printed can adapt to different stimuli such as temperature, water, and light that stimulate multiple functionalities, creating enormous potential for critical applications. Contemporary research indicates that 4D printing is a promising technology that will bring immense benefits to society.

This Special Issue aims to collect cutting-edge original research articles and reviews on the latest advances in additive processes, technical challenges, and prospects in developing 3D/4D printing techniques for polymer composites with improved properties and applications.

Dr. Lin Sang
Dr. Edgar Franco-Urquiza
Dr. Swee Leong Sing
Dr. Lilia Sabantina
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • 3D/4D printing
  • polymer composites
  • functional materials
  • smart composites
  • industrial applications
  • responsive polymers
  • adaptive materials
  • filament extrusion
  • processing technologies
  • process–property relationship

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Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 10999 KiB  
Article
Investigation of Additive-Manufactured Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polyethylene Terephthalate Honeycomb for Application as Non-Pneumatic Tire Support Structure
by Siwen Wang, Pan He, Quanqiang Geng, Hui Huang, Lin Sang and Zaiqi Yao
Polymers 2024, 16(8), 1091; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16081091 - 13 Apr 2024
Viewed by 676
Abstract
A non-pneumatic tire (NPT) overcomes the shortcomings of a traditional pneumatic tire such as wear, punctures and blowouts. In this respect, it shows great potential in improving driving safety, and has received great attention in recent years. In this paper, a carbon fiber-reinforced [...] Read more.
A non-pneumatic tire (NPT) overcomes the shortcomings of a traditional pneumatic tire such as wear, punctures and blowouts. In this respect, it shows great potential in improving driving safety, and has received great attention in recent years. In this paper, a carbon fiber-reinforced polyethylene terephthalate (PET/CF) honeycomb is proposed as a support structure for NPTs, which can be easily prepared using 3D printing technology. The experimental results showed that the PET/CF has high strength and modulus and provides excellent mechanical properties. Then, a finite element (FE) model was established to predict the compression performance of auxetic honeycombs. Good agreement was achieved between the experimental data and FE analysis. The influence of the cell parameters on the compressive performance of the support structure were further analyzed. Both the wall thickness and the vertically inclined angle could modulate the mechanical performance of the NPT. Finally, the application of vertical force is used to analyze the static load of the structure. The PET/CF honeycomb as the support structure of the NPT showed outstanding bearing capacity and stiffness in contrast with elastomer counterparts. Consequently, this study broadens the material selection for NPTs and proposes a strategy for manufacturing a prototype, which provides a reference for the design and development of non-pneumatic tires. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Additive Processes and 3D Printing for Polymer Composites)
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17 pages, 6368 KiB  
Article
Tensile Properties of In Situ 3D Printed Glass Fiber-Reinforced PLA
by Khairul Izwan Ismail, Rayson Pang, Rehan Ahmed and Tze Chuen Yap
Polymers 2023, 15(16), 3436; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15163436 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1882
Abstract
A 3D printed composite via the fused filament fabrication (FFF) technique has potential to enhance the mechanical properties of FFF 3D printed parts. The most commonly employed techniques for 3D composite printing (method 1) utilized premixed composite filaments, where the fibers were integrated [...] Read more.
A 3D printed composite via the fused filament fabrication (FFF) technique has potential to enhance the mechanical properties of FFF 3D printed parts. The most commonly employed techniques for 3D composite printing (method 1) utilized premixed composite filaments, where the fibers were integrated into thermoplastic materials prior to printing. In the second method (method 2), short fibers and thermoplastic were mixed together within the extruder of a 3D printer to form a composite part. However, no research has been conducted on method 3, which involves embedding short fibers into the printed object during the actual printing process. A novel approach concerning 3D printing in situ fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) by embedding glass fibers between deposited layers during printing was proposed recently. An experimental investigation has been undertaken to evaluate the tensile behavior of the composites manufactured by the new manufacturing method. Neat polylactic acid (PLA) and three different glass fiber-reinforced polylactic acid (GFPLA) composites with 1.02%, 2.39%, and 4.98% glass fiber contents, respectively, were 3Dprinted. Tensile tests were conducted with five repetitions for each sample. The fracture surfaces of the samples were then observed under scanning electron microscopy (SEM). In addition, the porosities of the 3D printed samples were measured with a image processing software (ImageJ 1.53t). The result shows that the tensile strengths of GFPLA were higher than the neat PLA. The tensile strength of the composites increased from GFPLA-1 (with a 1.02% glass fiber content) to GFPLA-2.4 (with a 2.39% glass fiber content), but drastically dropped at GFPLA-5 (with a 4.98% glass fiber content). However, the tensile strength of GFPLA-5 is still higher than the neat PLA. The fracture surfaces of tensile samples were observed under scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The SEM images showed the average line width of the deposited material increased as glass fiber content increased, while layer height was maintained. The intralayer bond of the deposited filaments improved via the new fiber embedding method. Hence, the porosity area is reduced as glass fiber content increased. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Additive Processes and 3D Printing for Polymer Composites)
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11 pages, 2504 KiB  
Communication
Mechanical Analysis of 3D Printed Polyamide Composites under Different Filler Loadings
by Nabilah Afiqah Mohd Radzuan, Nisa Naima Khalid, Farhana Mohd Foudzi, Nishata Royan Rajendran Royan and Abu Bakar Sulong
Polymers 2023, 15(8), 1846; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15081846 - 11 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1784
Abstract
The production of fabricated filaments for fused deposited modelling printing is critical, especially when higher loading filler (>20 wt.%) is involved. At higher loadings, printed samples tend to experience delamination, poor adhesion or even warping, causing their mechanical performance to deteriorate considerably. Hence, [...] Read more.
The production of fabricated filaments for fused deposited modelling printing is critical, especially when higher loading filler (>20 wt.%) is involved. At higher loadings, printed samples tend to experience delamination, poor adhesion or even warping, causing their mechanical performance to deteriorate considerably. Hence, this study highlights the behaviour of the mechanical properties of printed polyamide-reinforced carbon fibre at a maximum of 40 wt.%, which can be improved via a post-drying process. The 20 wt.% samples also demonstrate improvements of 500% and 50% in impact strength and shear strength performance, respectively. These excellent performance levels are attributed to the maximum layup sequence during the printing process, which reduces the fibre breakage. Consequently, this enables better adhesion between layers and, ultimately, stronger samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Additive Processes and 3D Printing for Polymer Composites)
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16 pages, 3464 KiB  
Article
Material Extrusion of Helical Shape Memory Polymer Artificial Muscles for Human Space Exploration Apparatus
by Kellen Mitchell, Lily Raymond, Joshua Wood, Ji Su, Jun Zhang and Yifei Jin
Polymers 2022, 14(23), 5325; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14235325 - 6 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1750
Abstract
Astronauts suffer skeletal muscle atrophy in microgravity and/or zero-gravity environments. Artificial muscle-actuated exoskeletons can aid astronauts in physically strenuous situations to mitigate risk during spaceflight missions. Current artificial muscle fabrication methods are technically challenging to be performed during spaceflight. The objective of this [...] Read more.
Astronauts suffer skeletal muscle atrophy in microgravity and/or zero-gravity environments. Artificial muscle-actuated exoskeletons can aid astronauts in physically strenuous situations to mitigate risk during spaceflight missions. Current artificial muscle fabrication methods are technically challenging to be performed during spaceflight. The objective of this research is to unveil the effects of critical operating conditions on artificial muscle formation and geometry in a newly developed helical fiber extrusion method. It is found that the fiber outer diameter decreases and pitch increases when the printhead temperature increases, inlet pressure increases, or cooling fan speed decreases. Similarly, fiber thickness increases when the cooling fan speed decreases or printhead temperature increases. Extrusion conditions also affect surface morphology and mechanical properties. Particularly, extrusion conditions leading to an increased polymer temperature during extrusion can result in lower surface roughness and increased tensile strength and elastic modulus. The shape memory properties of an extruded fiber are demonstrated in this study to validate the ability of the fiber from shape memory polymer to act as an artificial muscle. The effects of the operating conditions are summarized into a phase diagram for selecting suitable parameters for fabricating helical artificial muscles with controllable geometries and excellent performance in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Additive Processes and 3D Printing for Polymer Composites)
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13 pages, 3371 KiB  
Article
Direct-Writable and Thermally One-Step Curable “Water-Stained” Epoxy Composite Inks
by Suyeon Kim, Jeewon Yang, Jieun Kim, Seoung Young Ryu, Hanbin Cho, Yern Seung Kim and Joohyung Lee
Polymers 2022, 14(19), 4191; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14194191 - 6 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1485
Abstract
In this study, a simple method for preparing direct-writable and thermally one-step curable epoxy composite inks was proposed. Specifically, colloidal inks containing a mixture of ordinary epoxy resin and anhydride-type hardener with the suspended alumina microplates, as exemplary fillers, are “stained” with small [...] Read more.
In this study, a simple method for preparing direct-writable and thermally one-step curable epoxy composite inks was proposed. Specifically, colloidal inks containing a mixture of ordinary epoxy resin and anhydride-type hardener with the suspended alumina microplates, as exemplary fillers, are “stained” with small amounts of water. This increases the elasticity of the ink via the interparticle capillary attraction and promotes curing of the epoxy matrix in low-temperature ranges, causing the three-dimensional (3D) printed ink to avoid structural disruption during one-step thermal curing without the tedious pre-curing step. The proposed mechanisms for the shape retention of thermally cured water-stained inks were discussed with thorough analyses using shear rheometry, DSC, FTIR, and SEM. Results of the computer-vision numerical analysis of the SEM images reveal that the particles in water-stained inks are oriented more in the vertical direction than those in water-free samples, corroborating the proposed mechanisms. The suggested concept is extremely simple and does not require any additional cost to the one required for the preparation of the common epoxy–filler composites, which is thus expected to be well-exploited in various applications where 3D printing of epoxy-based formulations is necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Additive Processes and 3D Printing for Polymer Composites)
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Review

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23 pages, 7021 KiB  
Review
Advances in Additive Manufacturing of Polymer-Fused Deposition Modeling on Textiles: From 3D Printing to Innovative 4D Printing—A Review
by Edgar Adrian Franco Urquiza
Polymers 2024, 16(5), 700; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16050700 - 4 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1846
Abstract
Technological advances and the development of new and advanced materials allow the transition from three-dimensional (3D) printing to the innovation of four-dimensional (4D) printing. 3D printing is the process of precisely creating objects with complex shapes by depositing superimposed layers of material. Current [...] Read more.
Technological advances and the development of new and advanced materials allow the transition from three-dimensional (3D) printing to the innovation of four-dimensional (4D) printing. 3D printing is the process of precisely creating objects with complex shapes by depositing superimposed layers of material. Current 3D printing technology allows two or more filaments of different polymeric materials to be placed, which, together with the development of intelligent materials that change shape over time or under the action of an external stimulus, allow us to innovate and move toward an emerging area of research, innovative 4D printing technology. 4D printing makes it possible to manufacture actuators and sensors for various technological applications. Its most significant development is currently in the manufacture of intelligent textiles. The potential of 4D printing lies in modular manufacturing, where fabric-printed material interaction enables the creation of bio-inspired and biomimetic devices. The central part of this review summarizes the effect of the primary external stimuli on 4D textile materials, followed by the leading applications. Shape memory polymers attract current and potential opportunities in the textile industry to develop smart clothing for protection against extreme environments, auxiliary prostheses, smart splints or orthoses to assist the muscles in their medical recovery, and comfort devices. In the future, intelligent textiles will perform much more demanding roles, thus envisioning the application fields of 4D printing in the next decade. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Additive Processes and 3D Printing for Polymer Composites)
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36 pages, 6181 KiB  
Review
3D-Printed Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites by Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM): Fiber Length and Fiber Implementation Techniques
by Khairul Izwan Ismail, Tze Chuen Yap and Rehan Ahmed
Polymers 2022, 14(21), 4659; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14214659 - 1 Nov 2022
Cited by 34 | Viewed by 8281
Abstract
Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) is an actively growing additive manufacturing (AM) technology due to its ability to produce complex shapes in a short time. AM, also known as 3-dimensional printing (3DP), creates the desired shape by adding material, preferably by layering contoured layers [...] Read more.
Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) is an actively growing additive manufacturing (AM) technology due to its ability to produce complex shapes in a short time. AM, also known as 3-dimensional printing (3DP), creates the desired shape by adding material, preferably by layering contoured layers on top of each other. The need for low cost, design flexibility and automated manufacturing processes in industry has triggered the development of FDM. However, the mechanical properties of FDM printed parts are still weaker compared to conventionally manufactured products. Numerous studies and research have already been carried out to improve the mechanical properties of FDM printed parts. Reinforce polymer matrix with fiber is one of the possible solutions. Furthermore, reinforcement can enhance the thermal and electrical properties of FDM printed parts. Various types of fibers and manufacturing methods can be adopted to reinforce the polymer matrix for different desired outcomes. This review emphasizes the fiber types and fiber insertion techniques of FDM 3D printed fiber reinforcement polymer composites. A brief overview of fused deposition modelling, polymer sintering and voids formation during FDM printing is provided, followed by the basis of fiber reinforced polymer composites, type of fibers (synthetic fibers vs. natural fibers, continuous vs. discontinuous fiber) and the composites’ performance. In addition, three different manufacturing methods of fiber reinforced thermoplastics based on the timing and location of embedding the fibers, namely ‘embedding before the printing process (M1)’, ‘embedding in the nozzle (M2)’, and ‘embedding on the component (M3)’, are also briefly reviewed. The performance of the composites produced by three different methods were then discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Additive Processes and 3D Printing for Polymer Composites)
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20 pages, 2991 KiB  
Review
Advances in Biodegradable Soft Robots
by Jiwon Kim, Harim Park and ChangKyu Yoon
Polymers 2022, 14(21), 4574; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14214574 - 28 Oct 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3454
Abstract
Biodegradable soft robots have been proposed for a variety of intelligent applications in soft robotics, flexible electronics, and bionics. Biodegradability offers an extraordinary functional advantage to soft robots for operations accompanying smart shape transformation in response to external stimuli such as heat, pH, [...] Read more.
Biodegradable soft robots have been proposed for a variety of intelligent applications in soft robotics, flexible electronics, and bionics. Biodegradability offers an extraordinary functional advantage to soft robots for operations accompanying smart shape transformation in response to external stimuli such as heat, pH, and light. This review primarily surveyed the current advanced scientific and engineering strategies for integrating biodegradable materials within stimuli-responsive soft robots. It also focused on the fabrication methodologies of multiscale biodegradable soft robots, and highlighted the role of biodegradable soft robots in enhancing the multifunctional properties of drug delivery capsules, biopsy tools, smart actuators, and sensors. Lastly, the current challenges and perspectives on the future development of intelligent soft robots for operation in real environments were discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Additive Processes and 3D Printing for Polymer Composites)
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21 pages, 2724 KiB  
Review
4D Multiscale Origami Soft Robots: A Review
by Hyegyo Son, Yunha Park, Youngjin Na and ChangKyu Yoon
Polymers 2022, 14(19), 4235; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14194235 - 9 Oct 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 6228
Abstract
Time-dependent shape-transferable soft robots are important for various intelligent applications in flexible electronics and bionics. Four-dimensional (4D) shape changes can offer versatile functional advantages during operations to soft robots that respond to external environmental stimuli, including heat, pH, light, electric, or pneumatic triggers. [...] Read more.
Time-dependent shape-transferable soft robots are important for various intelligent applications in flexible electronics and bionics. Four-dimensional (4D) shape changes can offer versatile functional advantages during operations to soft robots that respond to external environmental stimuli, including heat, pH, light, electric, or pneumatic triggers. This review investigates the current advances in multiscale soft robots that can display 4D shape transformations. This review first focuses on material selection to demonstrate 4D origami-driven shape transformations. Second, this review investigates versatile fabrication strategies to form the 4D mechanical structures of soft robots. Third, this review surveys the folding, rolling, bending, and wrinkling mechanisms of soft robots during operation. Fourth, this review highlights the diverse applications of 4D origami-driven soft robots in actuators, sensors, and bionics. Finally, perspectives on future directions and challenges in the development of intelligent soft robots in real operational environments are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Additive Processes and 3D Printing for Polymer Composites)
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19 pages, 4774 KiB  
Review
Magnetic 3D-Printed Composites—Production and Applications
by Guido Ehrmann, Tomasz Blachowicz and Andrea Ehrmann
Polymers 2022, 14(18), 3895; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14183895 - 17 Sep 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4210
Abstract
Three-dimensional printing enables building objects shaped with a large degree of freedom. Additional functionalities can be included by modifying the printing material, e.g., by embedding nanoparticles in the molten polymer feedstock, the resin, or the solution used for printing, respectively. Such composite materials [...] Read more.
Three-dimensional printing enables building objects shaped with a large degree of freedom. Additional functionalities can be included by modifying the printing material, e.g., by embedding nanoparticles in the molten polymer feedstock, the resin, or the solution used for printing, respectively. Such composite materials may be stronger or more flexible, conductive, magnetic, etc. Here, we give an overview of magnetic composites, 3D-printed by different techniques, and their potential applications. The production of the feedstock is described as well as the influence of printing parameters on the magnetic and mechanical properties of such polymer/magnetic composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Additive Processes and 3D Printing for Polymer Composites)
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