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The Extent of Interlayer Bond Strength during Fused Filament Fabrication of Nylon Copolymers: An Interplay between Thermal History and Crystalline Morphology

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

One of the main drawbacks of Fused Filament Fabrication is the often-inadequate mechanical performance of printed parts due to a lack of sufficient interlayer bonding between successively deposited layers. The phenomenon of interlayer bonding becomes especially complex for semi-crystalline polymers, as, besides the extremely non-isothermal temperature history experienced by the extruded layers, the ongoing crystallization process will greatly complicate its analysis. This work attempts to elucidate a possible relation between the degree of crystallinity attained during printing by mimicking the experienced thermal history with Fast Scanning Chip Calorimetry, the extent of interlayer bonding by performing trouser tear fracture tests on printed specimens, and the resulting crystalline morphology at the weld interface through visualization with polarized light microscopy. Different printing conditions are defined, which all vary in terms of processing parameters or feedstock molecular weight. The concept of an equivalent isothermal weld time is utilized to validate whether an amorphous healing theory is capable of explaining the observed trends in weld strength. Interlayer bond strength was found to be positively impacted by an increased liquefier temperature and reduced feedstock molecular weight as predicted by the weld time. An increase in liquefier temperature of 40 °C brings about a tear energy value that is three to four times higher. The print speed was found to have a negligible effect. An elevated build plate temperature will lead to an increased degree of crystallinity, generally resulting in about a 1.5 times larger crystalline fraction compared to when printing occurs at a lower build plate temperature, as well as larger spherulites attained during printing, as it allows crystallization to occur at higher temperatures. Due to slower crystal growth, a lower tie chain density in the amorphous interlamellar regions is believed to be created, which will negatively impact interlayer bond strength.
Journal: Polymers
ISSN: 2073-4360
Issue: 16
Volume: 13
Number of pages: 35
Publication year:2021
Keywords:Polymer science