University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Applied Mathematics Seminar Series > Modelling Extrusion-Based Printing of Entangled Polymers

Modelling Extrusion-Based Printing of Entangled Polymers

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Fabian Spill.

In this seminar I will present how to apply the theory of polymer dynamics to flows encountered in extrusion-based 3D printing, also known as fused filament fabrication (FFF), and how to use this modelling to investigate practical problems in FFF printing.

FFF involves melting a thermoplastic (entangled polymer melt), followed by layer-by-layer extrusion, cooling and re-solidification. The main concern with FFF is the strength at the welds between printed layers; bulk strength is never achieved in these regions and the reason is currently unclear.

We use a molecularly-aware non-isothermal continuum model of the polymer melt to predict how high-shear rates during the extrusion process can stretch and align polymer molecules with the flow direction. For amorphous melts, we attribute reduced weld strength to a partially disentangled polymer microstructure at the onset of the glass transition. For semi-crystalline melts, we explore how the stretch induced by the printing flow can enhance nucleation and lead to a gradient in spherulite size across a printed filament.

This talk is part of the Applied Mathematics Seminar Series series.

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