Research Papers

Effects of Gamma Irradiation Upon the Mechanical and Chemical Properties of 3D-Printed Samples of Polylactic Acid

[+] Author and Article Information
Conrad West

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
South Dakota State University,
Brookings, SD 57007
e-mail: cwest@mmm.com

Robert McTaggart

Department of Physics,
South Dakota State University,
Brookings, SD 57007
e-mail: robert.mctaggart@sdstate.edu

Todd Letcher

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
South Dakota State University,
Brookings, SD 57007
e-mail: todd.letcher@sdstate.edu

Douglas Raynie

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry,
South Dakota State University,
Brookings, SD 57007
e-mail: douglas.raynie@sdstate.edu

Ranen Roy

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry,
South Dakota State University,
Brookings, SD 57007
e-mail: ranen.roy@sdstate.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received September 30, 2018; final manuscript received January 16, 2019; published online February 27, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Zhijian Pei.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 141(4), 041002 (Feb 27, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: MANU-18-1696; doi: 10.1115/1.4042581 History: Received September 30, 2018; Accepted January 16, 2019

3D printing offers the opportunity to design and make replacement parts to exacting specifications when needed. This is particularly helpful for space applications where stand-alone replacement mechanisms are required. Samples of 3D-printed polylactic acid (PLA) were subjected with up to 200 kGy of gamma radiation from a Cobalt-60 irradiator. The mechanical responses to destructive testing were successfully modeled with a combination of linear and exponential functions and may be understood given the underlying chemical changes due to said radiation exposures. We find that for doses up to 50 kGy, the performance of 3D-printed PLA is largely unaffected, which is beneficial for applications in space and in medicine. At larger doses, it appears that decomposition processes win out over cross-linking, which may aid in the degradation of PLA in waste streams.

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Fig. 1

Slicing profile used for specimen manufacturing (shown on tensile sample)

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Fig. 2

Actual dogbone sample used in tensile testing

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Fig. 3

The tensile ultimate strength as a function of the radiation dose

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Fig. 4

The yield stress point in tensile testing beyond which elastic behavior is no longer valid

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Fig. 5

The modulus of elasticity, or the slope of the stress versus strain graph during elastic behavior

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Fig. 6

Maximum elongation of the sample during a tensile test prior to failure

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Fig. 7

The maximum bending yield stress as a function of the radiation dose

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Fig. 8

The modulus of rupture at which fracture occurred during flexural strength tests

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Fig. 9

Modulus of flexure from the slope of stress versus strain graph during elastic behavior

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Fig. 10

Maximum bending strain prior to failure

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Fig. 11

The response of irradiated, 3D-printed PLA to Charpy impact testing

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Fig. 12

Hardness of irradiated PLA samples as a function of the radiation dose

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Fig. 13

FTIR spectra for PLA samples irradiated with gamma radiation

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Fig. 14

FTIR spectra for PLA samples irradiated by gamma radiation

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Fig. 15

The Glass Transition Temperature obtained during differential scanning calorimetry

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Fig. 16

The melting temperature of irradiated PLA samples during differential scanning calorimetry

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Fig. 17

The decomposition temperature obtained during differential scanning calorimetry

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Fig. 18

The difference between the peak temperatures during TGA testing increased linearly with the radiation dose applied to 3D-printed PLA samples

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Fig. 19

Weight loss decreases linearly with the radiation dose after TGA

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Fig. 20

Residual carbon left after thermogravimetric analysis

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Fig. 21

Color testing of control samples (black dots) and irradiated samples (nonblack dots)



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