Computational Mechanics

, Volume 61, Issue 5, pp 581–598 | Cite as

Experimental validation of 3D printed material behaviors and their influence on the structural topology design

Original Paper


The purpose of this paper is to investigate the structures achieved by topology optimization and their fabrications by 3D printing considering the particular features of material microstructures and macro mechanical performances. Combining Digital Image Correlation and Optical Microscope, this paper experimentally explored the anisotropies of stiffness and strength existing in the 3D printed polymer material using Stereolithography (SLA) and titanium material using Selective Laser Melting (SLM). The standard specimens and typical structures obtained by topology optimization were fabricated along different building directions. On the one hand, the experimental results of these SLA produced structures showed stable properties and obviously anisotropic rules in stiffness, ultimate strengths and places of fractures. Further structural designs were performed using topology optimization when the particular mechanical behaviors of SLA printed materials were considered, which resulted in better structural performances compared to the optimized designs using ‘ideal’ isotropic material model. On the other hand, this paper tested the mechanical behaviors of SLM printed multiscale lattice structures which were fabricated using the same metal powder and the same machine. The structural stiffness values are generally similar while the strength behaviors show a difference, which are mainly due to the irregular surface quality of the tiny structural branches of the lattice. The above evidences clearly show that the consideration of the particular behaviors of 3D printed materials is therefore indispensable for structural design and optimization in order to improve the structural performance and strengthen their practical significance.


3D printing Topology optimization Lattice structure Material anisotropy Static loading test 



This work is supported by National Key Research and Development Program (2017YFB1102800), National Natural Science Foundation of China (11722219, 51790171, 5171101743 and 11620101002), Key Research and Development Program of Shaanxi (2017KW-ZD-11 and 2017ZDXM-GY-059). The authors would like to thank Dr Jia Xin from Bright Laser Technology of Northwestern Polytechnical University, Prof Shi Yusheng and Dr Song Bo from Huazhong University of Technology for their support of 3D printing.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State IJR Center of Aerospace Design and Additive ManufacturingNorthwestern Polytechnical UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.MIIT Lab of Metal Additive Manufacturing and Innovative DesignNorthwestern Polytechnical UniversityXi’anChina
  3. 3.Institute of Intelligence Material and Structure, Unmanned System TechnologiesNorthwestern Polytechnical UniversityXi’anChina

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