Authors: Yerong Huang, Jordan Girdis, Andy Dong, Gwénaëlle and Sandra Löschke
For this investigation three common types of Australian hardwood, namely Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) and Tasmanian Oak (Eucalyptus regnans, Eucalyptus obliqua, Eucalyptus delegatensis), were selected to produce Wood-Plastic Composites (WPCs). This study explores the effect of the different wood species on the fabrication of WPC filament, and the mechanical performance of 3D printed WPC elements. The filaments were extruded by mixing the wood flour and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) with maleic anhydride that served as a binding agent. Tensile specimens were printed from the extruded filaments using a commercial 3D printer and tested in tension. While the different wood species displayed similar mechanical behaviors, it was found that the Red Gum specimens exhibited the highest specific tensile strength of the samples. The density analysis results and the scanning electron microscope images of the specimens’ fracture surfaces show that Red Gum produced the densest samples, which is consistent with the tensile testing results. This research makes an important foray into exploring the potential of varying the material composition of WPCs, and in particular the wood component to achieve distinct mechanical properties in 3D printed elements.
Keywords: wood-plastic composite; fused deposition modelling; mechanical properties