Constitutive modelling of UV printed polymer composites

18 Januar 2019

Prof. Dr. Alexander Lion, Professor für Mechanik hat bei der Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft das Projekt "Constitutive modelling of UV printed polymer composites" erfolgreich eingeworben.

Laufzeit: 01.01.2019 bis 31.12.2021
Förderer: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft e.V. – DFG-internationale Kooperationen

3D-printing is an innovative technique to manufacture three-dimensional objects with complex shape. Processed materials are metals, ceramics or polymers depending on the working principle of the printer. During the point- or layer-wise printing the material experiences a transition from a liquid to a solid and a temperature change accompanied by changes in the thermomechanical and caloric material behavior. The process leads to gradients in the material properties and to residual stresses which influence the mechanical behavior and the shape of the structure in desired or undesired manners. Since the processed materials are inelastic these effects depend on time and temperature and the parameters of the printing and post-treatment process. Due to the lack of understanding, missing constitutive models and simulation tools, such problems are usually faced by costly trial-and-error methods.

To keep the costs in view, this project is focused to 3D-printing of filler-modified polymers which are exothermally curing under UV radiation. Our main objectives are to understand, to model, to simulate and to optimize the printing and post-printer processes of filler-modified polymer structures. Therefore, the experiments start with investigations of the UV-induced curing of filler- modified and unfilled polymers: calorimetric, rheometric and volumetric experiments under UV- and temperature-control are planned. Printed and post-treated tensile bars of composites are analysed in dependence on the process-parameters like temperature, UV-intensity, layer thickness or time-scales. Using the data of the unfilled polymer, a degree of cure-dependent model of thermoviscoelasticity will be developed. It describes curing-induced changes in the material properties, is fitted to the experimental data and implemented into a finite element code. A differential equation with UV intensity-dependent parameters is developed to describe the evolution of the degree of cure. If the glass transition temperature of the fully cured polymer is above the curing temperature, diffusion control is taken into account. The distribution and the geometry of the filler particles in printed samples are studied by electron microscopy and the influence of the filler to the material behavior of the composites by mechanical testing. Merging this information, a reference volume element is created whose homogenized behavior is computed under further assumptions with the finite element implementation of the thermoviscoelastic model for the matrix and compared with experiments.

Lastly, the simulation chain is applied to simulate the printing process and the post treatment of lattice structures. At different times during the post treatment, the measured and simulated geometries and residual stresses are compared. If the validation is successful, the simulation chain provides optimal process parameters minimizing residual stresses and keeping the printed shape stable and within admissible tolerances.