Fused filament fabrication allows the direct manufacturing of customized and complex products although the layer-by-layer appearance of this process strongly affects the surface quality of the final parts. In recent years, an increasing number of post-processing treatments has been developed for the most used materials. Contrarily to other additive manufacturing technologies, metallization is not a common surface treatment for this process despite the increasing range of high-performing 3D printable materials. The objective of this work is to explore the use of physical vapor deposition sputtering for the chromium metallization of thermoplastic polymers and composites obtained by fused filament fabrication. The thermal and mechanical properties of five materials were firstly evaluated by means of differential scanning calorimetry and tensile tests. Meanwhile, a specific finishing torture test sample was designed and 3D printed to perform the metallization process and evaluate the finishing on different geometrical features. Furthermore, the roughness of the samples was measured before and after the metallization, and a cost analysis was performed to assess the cost-efficiency. To sum up, the metallization of five samples made with different materials was successfully achieved. Although some 3D printing defects worsened after the post-processing treatment, good homogeneity on the finest details was reached. These promising results may encourage further experimentations as well as the development of new applications, i.e., for the automotive and furniture fields.

Metallization of Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites 3D Printed by Fused Filament Fabrication

Romani, Alessia;Mantelli, Andrea;Turri, Stefano;Levi, Marinella;Suriano, Raffaella
2021-01-01

Abstract

Fused filament fabrication allows the direct manufacturing of customized and complex products although the layer-by-layer appearance of this process strongly affects the surface quality of the final parts. In recent years, an increasing number of post-processing treatments has been developed for the most used materials. Contrarily to other additive manufacturing technologies, metallization is not a common surface treatment for this process despite the increasing range of high-performing 3D printable materials. The objective of this work is to explore the use of physical vapor deposition sputtering for the chromium metallization of thermoplastic polymers and composites obtained by fused filament fabrication. The thermal and mechanical properties of five materials were firstly evaluated by means of differential scanning calorimetry and tensile tests. Meanwhile, a specific finishing torture test sample was designed and 3D printed to perform the metallization process and evaluate the finishing on different geometrical features. Furthermore, the roughness of the samples was measured before and after the metallization, and a cost analysis was performed to assess the cost-efficiency. To sum up, the metallization of five samples made with different materials was successfully achieved. Although some 3D printing defects worsened after the post-processing treatment, good homogeneity on the finest details was reached. These promising results may encourage further experimentations as well as the development of new applications, i.e., for the automotive and furniture fields.
2021
3D printing; prototyping; surface finishing; physical vapor deposition; mechanical properties; composites; fused deposition modeling; surface quality;
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1182756
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