A Study on the Material Characterization and Finite Element Analysis of Digital Materials and Their Applications

Eduardo Salcedo Lopez, Purdue University


Material jetting (MJ) additive manufacturing (AM) has experienced an increased adoption in several industry areas and as well as research applications. One of MJ’s distinct benefits is the ability to print tunable composites, digital materials (DM) by carefully adjusting the ratio of droplets of heterogeneous base-polymeric inks. However, the lack of material information usable in computer simulations has hampered its acceptance in some end-use applications. For these materials to be used in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulations the mechanical properties of the DMs need to be characterized into usable material models. DMs printable with an MJ printer has a wide variety of materials properties, ranging from flexible silicone rubber to rigid Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). Therefore, to cohesively express the mechanical behavior of the DMs it is necessary to utilize non-linear material models. The objective this research is to conduct physical testing to characterize the mechanical behavior of DMs printable with an MJ. Subsequently, to validate the effectiveness of the material models for multi-DM prints. Utilizing the newly characterized material models two use cases were investigated, with the goal of improving the performance of printed parts through simulation. In this study, an MJ printer was used to fabricate the test specimens as well as the components used in the use case studies. The study was focused on the family of six DMs printable from the mixture of the base polymers Tango Black+ (TB+) and Vero White+ (VW+). To characterize the mechanical properties of the materials a tensile test was conducted utilizing the KS-M6518 standard as a basis. The mechanical properties of the DMs were then fitted into four non-linear models and the results compared. The fitted models were, the Neo Hookean model, a two-parameter, three-parameter, and a five-parameter Mooney Rivlin model. To confidently use the material models for multi-DM prints FEA simulations need to validate the accuracy to which they can predict the deformation of the samples under load. To compare the results of the computer simulations and the physical test, strain maps for both results were analyzed. Four different test specimens were printed and tested. A baseline single material samples were compared to three multi-material samples with different embedded structures. The results confirmed the validity of the material models even when used for multi-DM prints. The recently characterized models are utilized in two use case studies which showcase the potential of DMs. The first use case was focused on printing multi-DM substrates for the use of stretchable electronics. The second use case investigated the benefits of utilizing multiple materials to create 3D conductive traces utilizing a new method, the “swollen-off” method. Both case studies showed the benefits of utilizing DMs as well as the applicability of the material models in predictive simulations.




Ryu, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

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