Investigation of mechanical, thermal and structural properties of continuous fiber-reinforced additively manufactured thermoplastic polymer composites
Continuous Fiber Reinforced Additively Manufactured (CFRAM) nylon composites were manufactured and their properties were investigated. Due to the high performance, lightweight, and easy-process, these materials are good candidates to replace metals and conventional composites for a wide range of applications. The wide range of applications of these novel materials justifies the need to study their properties. In this study, fiber-reinforced composite specimens were printed and their mechanical, thermal and structural properties were investigated. Nylon and onyx were used as the matrix and Carbon fiber, fiberglass, and Kevlar were used as reinforcing agents. The mechanical and thermal analyses including tensile analysis, creep analysis, Dynamic Mechanical Analysis, Thermogravimetric analysis, thermal conductivity, heat capacity, and heat diffusion were investigated. Microstructural analysis was also conducted to investigate the fracture mechanism, internal morphology, interlayer adhesion, and the printing quality of the specimens. The thermo-mechanical properties of printed parts were compared with metals and conventional polymer composites to further investigate the applicability of printed parts. The results clearly show that CFRAM parts have much lighter weight compared with metals and their performance is high enough for engineering applications. In addition, the manufacturing process of these materials is much easier than metals and conventional composites. Finally, the applicability of CFRAM components for fabricating automotive parts was examined. For this aim, ease of design and manufacturing, final price, and production time as three main manufacturing factors were considered. The car parts were printed and their properties were compared with metal parts produced with traditional methods.