Effect of Heterogeneity in Additively Manufactured Dielectric Structures on RF Response of Microstrip Patch Antennas

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Microstrip patch antennas with a tunable radiofrequency (RF) response are a great candidate for additive manufacturing (AM) process. First, three separate sets of ABS samples were created at three different machine preset fill densities using an extrusion based 3D printer. Once fabricated, actual solid volume fraction of each set of samples was measured using a 3D X‐ray computed tomography microscope. It is observed that the factory preset fill‐density values are only applied to the core region and actual solid volume fractions for each sample set are different from printer‐preset values. Also, the printed materials appeared to exhibit anisotropy such that the thickness direction dielectric properties are different from the in‐plane properties (planar isotropy). Microstrip patch antennas created on the AM fabricated ABS were tested for resonant frequencies using a vector network analyzer (VNA). The measured resonant frequencies combined with ANSYS‐HFSS simulation were used to estimate bulk dielectric constant of ABS and equivalent dielectric properties in planar and thickness directions. It is observed that the antenna resonant frequency decreases with an increase in core solid volume fraction. Also, in‐plane permittivity appeared to have minimal effect on antenna resonant frequency, while the thickness direction properties have substantial effects.



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