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The importance of carbon fiber to polymer additive manufacturing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2014

Lonnie J. Love*
Affiliation:
Manufacturing Systems Research Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932, USA
Vlastamil Kunc
Affiliation:
Deposition Science and Technology Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932, USA
Orlando Rios
Affiliation:
Deposition Science and Technology Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932, USA
Chad E. Duty
Affiliation:
Deposition Science and Technology Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932, USA
Amelia M. Elliott
Affiliation:
Manufacturing Systems Research Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932, USA
Brian K. Post
Affiliation:
Manufacturing Systems Research Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932, USA
Rachel J. Smith
Affiliation:
Manufacturing Systems Research Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932, USA
Craig A. Blue
Affiliation:
Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA
*
a) Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail: lovelj@ornl.gov
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Abstract

Additive manufacturing (AM) holds tremendous promise in terms of revolutionizing manufacturing. However, fundamental hurdles limit the widespread adoption of this technology. First, production rates are extremely low. Second, the physical size of the parts is generally small, less than a cubic foot. Third, the mechanical properties of the polymer parts are generally poor, limiting the potential for direct part replacement and functional use of the polymer components. This article describes various ways in which carbon fibers (CFs) can be used to address these fundamental hurdles. First, CF-reinforced polymers developed for AM have demonstrated specific strengths approaching aerospace-quality aluminum. Second, CF additions can radically reduce the distortion and warping of the material during deposition, which enables large-scale, out-of-the-oven, high deposition rate manufacturing. Finally, the complementary nature of CF technology and AM is discussed, showing how merging the two manufacturing processes enables the construction of complex components that would not be possible with either technology alone.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2014 

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References

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