Additive Manufacturing of PLA-Based Microwave Circuit-Analog Absorbers

Theodore J. Prince, Elliot J. Riley, Simon W. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Fused filament fabrication (FFF) was used to additively manufacture (3-D print) two-prototype circuit-analog (CA) absorbers. The CA absorbers consist of a lossy frequency selective surface (FSS), substrate, and ground plane. In this article, the FSS and substrate were manufactured using two different FFF materials to make a cohesive structure manufactured during a single printing procedure. To design the CA absorbers, the complex permittivity of FFF printed polylactic acid (PLA), bronze-, brass-, copper-, and iron-powder infused PLAs, and a graphite-PLA composite was measured using a free-space materials measurement system. Out of the candidate materials measured, graphite PLA and standalone PLA were selected as the FSSs and substrates, respectively. Complex permittivity data from the selected materials were input to Computer Simulation Technology Microwave Studio so that a genetic algorithm could optimize absorber dimensions. Reflectivity of the printed absorbers was measured using a free-space measurement setup. Measured reflectivity data were compared to that from simulations. A simulated-geometric tolerance study corroborated differences noted between ideal models and measured data. The results showed that FFF techniques can be used for CA-absorber designs and that 3-D printing settings can ultimately affect absorber performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1341-1346
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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