Dynamic response of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene under impact loading
© Owolabi et al. 2016
Received: 22 December 2015
Accepted: 8 March 2016
Published: 16 March 2016
The goal of the study is to understand the potential energy absorption benefits ofcomponents fabricated using fused deposition modeling additive manufacturing under high strain rateloading.
Tensile tests were conducted on 3-D printed acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) at differentstrain rates, according to the ASTM D638 standard, to assess its strain rate sensitivity under quasi-staticloads. The tensile test was also necessary to determine the mechanical properties necessary to characterizethe dynamic response of the ABS at high strain rates. The ABS specimens were subjected to high strainrate deformation through the use of the split Hopkinson pressure bar.
During compression, a new phenomenon described as a multistage collapse in which the samplesundergo multiple stages of contraction and expansion was observed as the impact load was applied. Thismultistage deformation behavior may be attributable to the ring formed around layers in the specimen dueto the manner of fabrication which potentially absorbed and released the energy, thus acting as a multistage spring. As the velocity of impact increases, it is observed that the ABS capability for energy absorption decreased to where there was only one stage of compression equivalent to the initial stage.
The multistage collapse of the 3-D printed ABS specimen indicates a potential for a novel energy absorption mechanism to be exploited at lower strain rates. Future work in the area should include more studies about printing orientation, as well as investigating the impact of the presence of the outer cylindrical ring on the overall dynamic response.
Through the use of direct digital manufacturing (DDM), more commonly known as additive manufacturing (AM), various thermoplastics can be used as the basis for creating models and to be printed for a vast amount of applications that could potentially be beneficial with respect to the design and manufacturing of mechanical and structural components. Using this approach, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) can be printed at various orientations, and the understanding of the effect that this process has on their behavior under service loads could lead to potential benefits that were previously unexplored. DDM uses a combination of computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) as well as computer codes designed to interface with advanced 3-D additive manufacturing prototyping machines to produce a desired component (Yan and Gu 1996).
This study explores the fused deposition modeling (FDM) and the printing orientation as a means to quantify the potential benefits of AM to allow for a more cost-effective, time-efficient, in-house fabrication of designs, while optimizing the mechanical and structural integrity. In FDM, CAD software is used to convert a file containing a 3-D model into 3-D stereolithography (STL) format. The STL file is imported into a CAM software, which produces a physical replica of the 3-D model sliced into thin layers comprised of tool paths used by the 3-D printing machine to place continuous feedstock filament comprised of ABS and onto a surface to build up the 3-D component layer-by-layer (Riddick et al.). Advanced 3-D additive manufacturing prototyping (3-D printing) has been used in a variety of applications, which include medical designs, oil filter assemblies, prototypes, replacement parts, and dental crowns (Berman 2012).
In the design of mechanical and structural components, it is essential to understand the mechanical behavior at different loading rates based on the desired applications. The present investigation is aimed at understanding the effect of high strain rate loading (>102 s−1) on the dynamic response of ABS for potential benefits in energy absorption in mechanical and structural applications. Riddick, et al. (Riddick et al.) characterized the effects of varying build direction and raster orientation on the strength and stiffness of ABS fabricated by FDM. Results of the experimental characterization show that rasters formed parallel to the loading direction fabricated in the through-the-thickness direction yielded the highest strength and modulus at 34.17 MPa and 2.79 GPa, respectively. The overall results clearly indicated anisotropy in the macroscale response due to raster orientation and build direction with respect to the load axis. In the area of high strain rate deformation, there has been extensive work on understanding the effects of high strain rate on metals such as aluminum alloys, steels, and other metals (Smerd et al. 2005; Djapic Oosterkamp et al. 2000; Odeshi et al. 2006; Lee and Lin 1998). Many experiments on dynamic response of metals have been conducted through the usage of the split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB) for strain rates greater than 102 (Kuhn and Dana 2000). Very limited exploratory research has, however, been conducted on the dynamic response of polymers, more specifically ABS. The range of interest for the present study (102–103) is within the capability of the SHPB test apparatus making this setup suitable for completing the experiments required to investigate the dynamic response of ABS at high strain rates.
When observing metals at high strain rates, one of the main relationships that are analyzed is the relationship between the stress that a material undergoes and the strain as the strain rate is increased. Yazdani et al. (2009); Qiang et al. (2003); Lee et al. (2005) conducted studies on the dynamic deformation of copper and titanium alloys and observed that the maximum stress did not change drastically with increasing strain rates. Siviour et al. (2006) showed that the final strain achieved for polymers was directly related to the strain rate applied. For polymers, such as ABS, the mechanical properties vary considerably from those observed in metals. Gaining a better understanding of the strain rate dependency of ABS will help in effectively determining the stress limits for a given design application as a function of the strain rate.
The novelty of the present research is that rather than testing a solid block of ABS, machined down to the appropriate size, here, an advanced 3-D additive manufacturing approach is used to print the specimens. Artifacts of the 3-D printing process coincidentally create logical structures for energy absorption. Recent research in multifunctional structures seeks to draw upon bio-mimicry to produce graceful progression to plasticity through unique damage absorption. Malkin et al. (2013) have considered the discontinuous reinforcement phases in high-toughness composite nacre as an inspiration to introduce a degree of pseudo-ductility to fiber-reinforced polymer. By introducing ply cuts of various spacings and densities to exploit discontinuities inspired by architectures of nacre found in nature, pseudo-ductility characterized by graceful collapse phenomenon was achieved. Sen and Buehler (2010) demonstrated a bottom-up systematic approach rooted in atomistic modeling to investigate enhanced defect tolerance in hierarchical structures fabricated from brittle material. Stable crack propagation resistance due to structural hierarchy was shown to enable toughness of otherwise brittle base material, traditionally highly sensitive to small nano-scale defects. Dyskin et al. (2003) proposed a new materials design concept in which regular assemblies of topologically interlocked elements are the basis for strong flexible composite materials with high impact resistance. The behavior that Dyskin et al. (2003) confirmed in layers formed of topologically interlocked elements composed of aluminum alloy material is an example of pseudo-ductile behavior.
Khandelwal et al. (2012) fabricated cellular topologically interlocking material (TIM) composed of tetrahedral elements using FDM additive manufacturing of ABS plastic. Impact tests demonstrated that the cellular TIMs composed of intrinsically brittle base material exhibited perfect softening behavior. The experimental results exhibit a positive correlation between strength and toughness, which is a clear demonstration of pseudo-ductile behavior. It is desirable to understand whether the potential benefits of 3-D printed polymer can be harnessed for use in novel mechanical and structural applications. The present study explores FDM-printed materials to quantify the potential benefits to dynamic response of structures such as TIMs to understand the potential effect on cost-effective, time-efficient designs optimized for mechanical strength and structural integrity. The primary long-term research goal is to formulate concepts for material performance beyond present capability to enable new approaches to highly optimized and multifunctional structural designs.
Results and discussion
The mechanical testing on the ABS specimen was accomplished in two different stages. Tensile testing was first conducted to study the strain rate dependency of the ABS and to obtain the mechanical properties that are required to determine the pressure corresponding to a desired impact velocity during high strain rate testing. ABS samples were then tested at strain rates from 500 to 2000 s−1.
Tensile test results
Tensile testing results
Maximum stress (MPa)
Elastic modulus (GPa)
Dynamic compression tests results
Strain rate, pressure, and velocity of impact
ABS 8 × 8 mm2 cylindrical specimen
ABS 10 × 10 mm2 cylindrical specimen
Strain rate (s−1)
Strain rate (s−1)
Initial height (mm)
Average final height (mm)
The present study presents the results of exploratory studies conducted to understand the effect of 3-D printing on the response of ABS polymer under dynamic loading. At strain rates above 1000 s−1 applied using the split Hopkinson pressure bar experiment, failure begins to occur in the printed ABS by buckling characterized by increasing height reduction and crushing as the strain rate increases beyond 1000 s−1 up to complete failure at 2000 s−1. Below the 1000 s−1 limit, there is minimal height reduction or evidence of failure observed. At the lower strain rates, images captured through the use of the DIC system indicate iterative contraction and expansion of the material as the incident load is applied. The iterative behavior may be due to the support ring built around the 3-D printed material, which holds the perpendicular layers in place, beginning to absorb and displace energy acting as a multistage spring. The dynamic results indicate that the specimen shows a linear relationship between the true stress and the true strain up to its yield point. The highest plastic deformation is observed at higher strain rates along with higher levels of stress. However, as the strain rate is increased, there is more evidence of stress collapse ultimately leading to the failure of the specimens. The multistage collapse of the 3-D printed ABS specimen indicates a potential for a novel energy absorption mechanism to be exploited at lower strain rates. Future work in the area should include more studies about printing orientation, as well as investigating the impact of the presence of the outer cylindrical ring on the overall dynamic response.
The authors are grateful for the financial support provided by the Department of Defense (DOD) through the research and educational program for HBCU/MSI (contract # W911NF-12-1-061) monitored by Dr. Asher A. Rubinstein (Solid Mechanics Program Manager, ARO). Alex Peterson is also grateful for the summer financial support provided via the College Qualified Program sponsored by the American Society of Engineering Education and the DOD that gives interested students, both undergraduate and graduate level, the opportunity for research internship in the DOD labs.
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
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