Research Papers

A Cohesive Zone Model for the Stamping Process Encountered During Three-Dimensional Printing of Fiber-Reinforced Soft Composites

[+] Author and Article Information
Clayson C. Spackman

Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
110 Eighth Street,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: spackc@rpi.edu

James F. Nowak

Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
110 Eighth Street,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: nowakj2@rpi.edu

Kristen L. Mills

Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
110 Eighth Street,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: millsk2@rpi.edu

Johnson Samuel

Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
110 Eighth Street,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: samuej2@rpi.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received December 28, 2016; final manuscript received August 1, 2017; published online November 17, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Zhijian J. Pei.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 140(1), 011010 (Nov 17, 2017) (10 pages) Paper No: MANU-16-1682; doi: 10.1115/1.4037603 History: Received December 28, 2016; Revised August 01, 2017

Fiber-reinforced soft composites (FrSCs) are seeing increasing use in applications involving soft actuators, four-dimensional printing, biomimetic composites, and embedded sensing. The three-dimensional (3D) printing of FrSCs is a layer-by-layer material deposition process that alternates between inkjet deposition of an ultraviolet (UV) curable polymer layer and the stamping of electrospun fibers onto the layer, to build the final part. While this process has been proven for complex 3D geometries, it suffers from poor fiber transfer efficiencies (FTEs) that affect the eventual fiber content in the printed part. In order to address this issue, it is critical to first understand the mechanics of the fiber transfer process. To this end, the objective of this paper is to develop a cohesive zone-based finite element model that captures the competition between the “fiber–carrier substrate” adhesion and the “fiber–polymer matrix” adhesion, encountered during the stamping process used for 3D printing FrSCs. The cohesive zone model (CZM) parameters are first calibrated using independent microscale fiber peeling experiments involving both the thin-film aluminum carrier substrate and the UV curable polymer matrix. The predictions of the calibrated model are then validated using fiber transfer experiments. The model parametric studies suggest the use of a roller-based stamping unit design to improve the FTE of the FrSC 3D printing process. Preliminary experiments confirm that for a 0.5 in diameter roller, this new design can increase the FTE to ∼97%, which is a substantial increase from the 55% efficiency value seen for the original flat-plate stamping platen design. The model has broader applications for the transfer-printing of soft material constructs at the submicron scale.

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Fig. 1

Three-dimensional printing of FrSCs [1]

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Fig. 2

Overall modeling strategy

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Fig. 3

Two-dimensional finite element model for estimating the AOC between the Nylon-6 fibers and a flat 3D-printed polymer matrix substrate: (a) boundary conditions (H = 40 μm and h = 16 μm), (b) steady-state stamping results, and (c) contact arc lengths mapped to a flat edge approximation

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Fig. 4

Calibration experiments: (a) system schematic and in-process image sample and (b) force displacement data

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Fig. 5

Model setup for estimating cohesive zone parameters for the interfaces: (a) fiber–polymer substrate interface peeling model, (b) fiber–aluminum carrier substrate interface peeling model, and (c) traction–separation curve for interfacial CZEs (note: B.C. = boundary condition)

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Fig. 6

Cohesive zone parameter estimation results showing simulated peel force (Note: Shaded regions bounded by dotted–dashed lines represent ranges of experimental data.)

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Fig. 7

Three-dimensional fiber-transfer model: (a) overall model configuration and (b) time-varying failure of the CZEs resulting in fiber transfer

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Fig. 8

Experimental configuration for validation experiments (Note: Axis configuration is from Fig. 4(a), and velocity vector V is from Fig. 7(a).)

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Fig. 9

Boundary condition for roller-based stamping process design: (a) process and (b) equivalent model boundary condition

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Fig. 10

Peak stress prediction and interpretation: (a) example of potential stress concentrators in the fiber (necking) and (b) peek stress seen in the fibers, horizontal line represents yield stress for Nylon-6 fibers

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Fig. 11

Experimental setup (VT indicates direction of velocity)

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Fig. 12

Results of the FTEs obtained from the roller stamp design (* indicates FTE for the original flat-plate stamping platen.)

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Fig. 13

A modified fiber stamping unit concept to improve the FTEs of the printer outlined in Refs. [1] and [2]



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