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Understanding 3D Printing of Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK): From Melt Rheology to Mechanical Properties of the Printed Part

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a growing, innovative technique which enables engineers to realize formerly unthinkable technologies. In this report we show, how the rheological and dynamic-mechanical properties of 3D-printing filaments and 3D-printed parts can be characterized using an Anton Paar MCR rheometer, to optimize parameters of a 3D printing process.

Introduction

This application report explains how an air-bearing based Modular Compact Rheometer (MCR) with an additional lower linear drive from Anton Paar can be used to study the rheology of PEEK and the thermo mechanical properties of the 3D printed samples.

3D printing is becoming increasingly popular for building prototypes in R&D and producing series parts for engine or specific devices. In fact, thanks to its flexibility, 3D printing gives researchers and developers the opportunity to quickly prototype parts for their projects or products. Moreover, it enables to easily produce spare parts and parts with highly complex geometries. In fact, modern aircraft engines already contain some 3D printed parts (1). In the near future a lot of new products in a wide range of applications (R&D, industry, biology, constructions, health and medicines) will be 3D printed (2).

Many different types of 3D printing processes are used. Depending on the application and on the used material, different techniques are the method of choice (3). Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is the most common technique in additive manufacturing of polymers. A thermoplastic filament is fused at a molten state and an extruder is printing layer after layer by moving based on a toolpath (3).

It is necessary to properly study the material´s characteristics and how it reacts to a particular stress in tension, torsion or to temperature changes. In fact, as additively manufactured parts can be used to replace parts manufactured in a conventional way, they need to have comparable mechanical properties.Mechanical properties such as the glass transition temperature Tg, extensional storage E' and loss modulus E'' are mainly affected by the manufacturing process and by printing parameters (4). Understanding the effect of each parameter on the mechanical properties is important. It allows to better choose printing parameters fitting material and application.

Hence, material characterization is crucial before launching the production of a new 3D-printed piece.

An Anton Paar MCR rheometer with an additional lower linear drive allows to analyze the mentioned parameters.

References

1. Additive manufacturing technology : the status, applications and prospects. Insaf Bahnini, Mickael Rivette, Ali Siadat, Abdelilah Elmesbahi. s.l. : Springer, 2018, The international Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology.

2. —. Insaf Bahnini, Mickael Rivette, Ali Siadat, Abdelilah Elmesbahi. s.l. : Springer, 2018, The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology.

3. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) : A review of materials, methods, applications and challenges. Tuan D. Ngo, Alireza Kashani, Gabriele Imbalzano, Kate T.Q. Nguyen, David Hui. s.l. : Elsevier, 2018, Composites Part B, Vol. 143, pp. 172-196.

4. Mechanical characterization of 3D-printed polymers. John Ryan C. Dizon, Alejandro H. Espera Jr., Qiyi Chen, Rigoberto C. Advincula. s.l. : Elsevier, 2018, Additive manufacturing, Vol. 20, pp. 44-67.

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