Mechanics of 3D-Printed Polymer Lattices with Varied Design and Processing Strategies

Abstract

Emerging polymer 3D-printing technologies are enabling the design and fabrication of mechanically efficient lattice structures with intricate microscale structures. During fabrication, manufacturing inconsistencies can affect mechanical efficiency, thereby driving a need to investigate how design and processing strategies influence outcomes. Here, mechanical testing is conducted for 3D-printed lattice structures while altering topology, relative density, and exposure time per layer using digital light processing (DLP). Experiments compared a Cube topology with 800 µm beams and Body-Centered Cube (BCC) topologies with 500 or 800 µm beams, all designed with 40% relative density. Cube lattices had the lowest mean measured relative density of ~42%, while the 500 µm BCC lattice had the highest relative density of ~55%. Elastic modulus, yield strength, and ultimate strength had a positive correlation with measured relative density when considering measurement distributions for thirty samples of each design. BCC lattices designed with 50%, 40%, and 30% relative densities were then fabricated with exposure-per-layer times of 1500 and 1750 ms. Increasing exposure time per layer resulted in higher scaling of mechanical properties to relative density compared to design alteration strategies. These results reveal how design and fabrication strategies affect mechanical performance of lattices suitable for diverse engineering applications.

Description

© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Keywords

3D printing, resin, lattices, design, mechanics, dimensional characterization

Citation

Egan PF, Khatri NR, Parab MA, Arefin AME. Mechanics of 3D-Printed Polymer Lattices with Varied Design and Processing Strategies. Polymers. 2022; 14(24):5515. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14245515

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