Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing of High Strength Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites


In this study, a novel 3D printing process to facilitate rapid production of continuous fiberreinforced thermoplastic composite was established. Different from traditional fused deposition modeling (FDM) approaches, a commercial single screw extruder which provides a high deposition rate was used as a printing head, where the attached printing nozzle was modified to insert the continuous fiber reinforcement just prior to deposition. Commercial polylactic acid (PLA) with continuous carbon fiber tow, which provides excellent mechanical properties, were chosen as the feedstock to reduce the overall material cost in comparison to the commercial filaments or other reinforcing fiber prepreg filaments which are conventionally used in FDM-based approaches. The measured flexural strength of carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite fabricated through this proposed approach is 65% larger than the pure PLA sample. The output rate of this manufacturing process is over a kilogram per hour which is over 50 times higher than traditional filament based approaches. However, the cost of the material for this approach is merely 30% of the traditional FDM-based approaches. Proven feasibility of the fabrication process facilitating additive manufacturing of high strength, low cost composites indicate that this proposed approach is an attractive solution to address ever growing need of large-scale additive manufacturing in aerospace and automotive industries.

Meeting Name

SAMPE neXus (2021: Jun. 29-Jul. 1, Virtual)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Article - Conference proceedings

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Publication Date

01 Jul 2021

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