Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Materials Science and Engineering

Major Professor

Stephanie C. TerMaath

Committee Members

David Keffer, Yanfei Gao, Sudarsanam Babu


This dissertation uses the processing-structure-performance relationships to elucidate future needs in qualification of materials manufactured by fused filament fabrication and also introduces a previously unused testing method for the determination of fracture toughness in these materials. Fused filament fabrication (FFF) is an additive manufacturing technique that utilizes the layering of deposited molten plastic in two dimensional shapes to create three dimensional objects. This technique has gained traction over the past two decades as a disruptive manufacturing technology that promises many benefits. In order for FFF to truly be a staple in manufacturing spaces across the world for the production of end-user parts, standardization of testing procedures for the qualification of FFF specific materials must take place. Adjusting standards for qualification must occur with analysis in ultimate tensile strength, response to environmental conditions, and the fracture behavior of these parts. In Chapter 1, a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the art in fracture of FFF parts is presented and discussed. Discussed in this section are the rheological specific phenomena that govern the polymer chain physics at interfaces and within deposited beads. This is tied to the fracture strength and the current questions in part behavior. In chapter 2, a commonly used tensile testing standard is explored and tested on fiber reinforced acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS). Due to the complex manufacturing process, new naming standards and testing recommendations are made and the influence of part production methodologies and processing parameters on ultimate tensile strength are explored. The response of fiber reinforced and non-reinforced ABS in environmental conditioning is tested and discussed in chapter 3, where specimens were exposed to heat and moisture then tested in tension. Chapter 4 introduces a unique testing specimen to the FFF literature to obtain multiple fracture modes. Through this test specimen, the nature of the material as a laminate or as a porous homogeneous material is also explored and documented.

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