Investigation of the effect of the degree of hollowness and internal cavity structure on the mechanical properties of 3D-printed materials

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Despite the wide growth of additive manufacturing, it is still very expensive to mass produce 3D-printed parts. The costs can be minimized if the quantity of material required to produce a part can be substantially reduced by introducing hollow cavities into the structure, without compromising its properties. This study investigates the effect of the degree of hollowness and different internal cavity structures on the mechanical properties of 3D-printed materials. Test specimens were prepared with four polymeric materials (i.e., acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polylactic acid (PLA), carbon fiber-reinforced (CFR) ABS, and CFR PLA) using the fused deposition modeling 3D printing technique. Internal hollow cavities were introduced to the specimens during printing and the specimens were prepared with three different cavity structures (i.e., hexagonal honeycomb, circular drills, and squares), and the degree of hollowness was varied from 0% to 30% in 10% increments. Tensile and flexural properties of the 3D-printed specimens were evaluated and analyzed. The mechanical properties of all specimens were found to decrease with increasing hollowness levels, regardless of the type of material or the internal cavity structure. The hexagonal honeycomb structure showed the best tensile properties out of the three internal cavity structures, while the flexural properties were not significantly affected by the internal cavity structure. The material type had a significant impact on the mechanical properties with PLA exhibiting better tensile and flexural properties than ABS, while their carbon fire reinforced counterparts showed enhanced mechanical properties than pure ABS and PLA.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Lightweight Materials and Manufacture
Early online date24 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jun 2023


  • Additive manufacturing, 3D printing, Mechanical properties, Hollow structure, Fused deposition modeling *Corresponding Author ABS: acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, CFR: Carbon Fiber Reinforced, FDM: Fused Deposition Modeling, PA: polyamide, PETG: polyethylene terephthalate glycol, PLA: polylactic acid, STL: Standard Triangle Language, UTS: Ultimate Tensile Strength Jour
  • 3D printing
  • Mechanical properties
  • Hollow structure
  • Fused deposition modeling


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