Effect of Vertical Strut Arrangements on Compression Characteristics of 3D Printed Polymer Lattice Structures: Experimental and Computational Study

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This paper discusses the behavior of the three-dimensional (3D) printed polymer lattice core structures during compressive deformation, by both physical testing and computer modeling. Four lattice configurations based on the body-centered cubic (BCC) unit cell were selected to investigate the effect of vertical strut arrangements on stiffness, failure load, and energy absorption per unit mass or the specific energy absorption (SEA). The basic BCC unit cell consists of struts connecting the body center to the corners of the cube. Three variations in the BCC configuration considered in this study are (1) BCCV, with vertical members connecting all nodes of the lattice, (2) BCCA, with vertical members in alternating layers of the lattice, and (3) BCCG, with a gradient in the number of vertical members increasing from none at the top layer to all vertical members at the bottom layer. The unit cell dimensions were 5mmx5mmx5mm with strut diameter of 1mm. The lattice was assembled with 5 cells in the x and y directions and 4 cells in the z direction. Specimens were first made by 3D printing by using a fused deposition modeling printer with acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene thermoplastic. Specimens were then tested under compression in the z direction under quasi-static conditions. Finite element analysis was used to model the compressive behavior of the different lattice structures. Results from both experiments and finite element models show that the strength of the lattice structures is greater when vertical members are present, and the SEA depends on the lattice geometry and not its mass.



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