Researchers combined additive manufacturing with conventional compression molding to produce high-performance thermoplastic composites reinforced with short carbon fibers. The approach demonstrates the potential use of large-scale multi-material preforms to create molded composites.
The researchers used ABS polymer, filled with carbon and glass fibers, in three manufacturing processes: additive, extrusion compression molding, and the combined approach of additive and compression molding. The team analyzed mechanical properties of the resulting composite samples.
The integrated process showed substantial improvement in mechanical properties due to high fiber alignment and reduced porosity, indicating that multi-materials can be deployed for composites in applications in aviation, transportation, and defense.
Further research will include developing the system to be able to use long or continuous carbon fibers for enhanced strength.