Surface topology as non-destructive proxy for tensile strength of plastic parts from filament-based material extrusion

Bevan Harbinson, Sierra F. Yost, Bryan D. Vogt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Non-destructive characterization of 3D-printed parts is critical for quality control and adoption of additive manufacturing (AM). The low-cost driver for AM of thermoplastics, typically through material extrusion AM (MEAM), challenges the integration of real-time, operando characterization and control schemes that have been developed for metals. Here, we demonstrate that the surface topology determined from optical profilometry provides information about the mechanical response of the printed part using commercial ABS filaments through calibration-based correlations. The influence of layer thickness on the tensile properties of MEAM ABS was examined. Surface topology was converted into amplitude spectra using fast Fourier transforms. The scatter in the tensile strength of the replicate samples was well represented by the differences in the amplitude of the two fundamental waves that describe the periodicity of the printed roads. These results suggest that information about previously printed layers is transferred to subsequent layers that can be resolved from optical profilometry and offers the potential of a rapid, non-destructive post-print characterization for improved quality control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProgress in Additive Manufacturing
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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