University of Cambridge > > Engineering Department Bio- and Micromechanics Seminars > Mechanical performance of wall structures in 3D printing processes: theory, design tools and experiments

Mechanical performance of wall structures in 3D printing processes: theory, design tools and experiments

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A mechanistic model is presented that can be used for analysing and optimising the mechanical performance of straight wall structures in 3D printing processes. The two failure mechanisms considered are elastic buckling and plastic collapse. The model incorporates the most relevant process parameters, which are the printing velocity, the curing characteristics of the printing material, the geometrical features of the printed object, the heterogeneous strength and stiffness properties, the presence of imperfections, and the non- uniform dead weight loading. The sensitivity to elastic buckling and plastic collapse is first explored for three basic configurations, namely i) a free wall, ii) a simply-supported wall and iii) a fully-clamped wall, which are printed under linear or exponentially- decaying curing processes. As demonstrated for the specific case of a rectangular wall lay-out, the design graphs and failure mechanism maps constructed for these basic configurations provide a convenient practical tool for analysing arbitrary wall structures under a broad range of possible printing process parameters. Here, the simply-supported wall results in a lower bound for the wall buckling length, corresponding to global buckling of the complete wall structure, while the fully-clamped wall gives an upper bound, reflecting local buckling of an individual wall. The range of critical buckling lengths defined by these bounds may be further narrowed by the critical wall length for plastic collapse. For an arbitrary wall configuration the critical buckling length and corresponding buckling mode can be accurately predicted by deriving an expression for the non-uniform rotational stiffness provided by the support structure of a buckling wall. This has been elaborated for the specific case of a wall structure characterised by a rectangular lay-out. It is further shown that under the presence of imperfections the buckling response at growing deflection correctly asymptotes towards the bifurcation buckling length of an ideally straight wall. The buckling responses computed for a free wall and a wall structure with a rectangular lay-out turn out to be in good agreement with experimental results of 3D printed concrete wall structures. Hence, the model can be applied to systematically explore the influence of individual printing process parameters on the mechanical performance of particular wall structures, which should lead to clear directions for the optimisation on printing time and material usage. The model may be further utilised as a validation tool for finite element models of wall structures printed under specific process conditions.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Bio- and Micromechanics Seminars series.

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