Composite thermoplastics can add functionality to fused filament fabrication (FFF) parts that can enable the manufacturing of end-use products, taking advantage of the geometric complexity available in additive manufacturing (AM). Plastic composites require high filler content and long fibers to achieve useful thermal conductivity values, which can lead to manufacturing issues such as clogging. This work investigates polyamide and other resins with fillers such as copper and carbon fibers. These materials are applied to a case study on the production of 3D printed, air-cooled crossflow heat exchangers, which must meet performance and cost targets to become a viable product. Performance criteria are explored, such as the watertightness and failure pressure for different print parameters, geometric designs, and toolpath modifications. This study guides the manufacturing parameters required to withstand the design conditions of 70 °C and 17 bar burst pressure. These criteria are important for refining the material design and scaling up the size of the printed heat exchanger.
- Understand how FFF can be used to manufacture certain products, especially for thermal applications.
- Identify and address FFF manufacturing challenges.
- Design better FFF products for manufacturing with composite plastics.