The Relationship Between Fiber Bundle Size and Mechanical Performance of Additively Manufactured Continuous Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites

Vatandas B. B., UŞUN A., Guemruek R., Simsek C.

3D PRINTING AND ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING, vol.10, no.6, pp.1190-1203, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1089/3dp.2022.0220
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED)
  • Page Numbers: pp.1190-1203
  • Keywords: 3D printing, additive manufacturing, carbon fibers, mechanical properties, polymer-matrix composites
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Additively manufactured continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) composites are still in the early stages of reaching competitive mechanical properties compared with conventional composites. The main reason for this is that their mechanical properties are limited due to weak interlayer strength, porosity, and low fiber fraction. Therefore, the effects of many parameters, such as layer thickness, temperature, printing speed, and fiber fraction, have been extensively studied to improve mechanical properties. With a different perspective on these parameters, this study aimed to investigate the effect of fiber bundle size on the mechanical properties of CFRTP composites. For this purpose, 3K and 6K fiber bundle filaments with the same fiber volume fractions (similar to 41%) were produced utilizing a polymer impregnation setup. CFRTP samples were printed using fused deposition modeling with polylactic acid as the matrix. The mechanical properties were investigated via three-point bending, interlaminar shear strength (ILSS), and tensile tests. The results showed that fiber bundle size does not particularly influence tensile strength but dominates flexural and ILSS performance. Although increased flexural strength and modulus were observed, the bundle size effect was much more dominant in ILSS tests, and 6K bundle size samples with the same fiber fraction showed much higher strength.