A comprehensive investigation of the mechanical behavior and the dielectrics of pure polylactic acid (PLA) and PLA with graphene (GnP) in fused deposition modeling (FDM)


In this work, the mechanical response of fused deposition modeling (FDM) specimens made of polylactic acid (PLA) and polylactic acid nanocomposite with graphene (PLA GnP) filler is experimentally determined. A wide variety of standard tests was performed. Test results were assessed to depict quantitatively the mechanical properties of the materials tested. Comprehensive comparison of the mechanical strength between FDM-printed PLA and PLA GnP polymers was carried out to illustrate the filler’s impact. Effect of the FDM process in these materials’ properties arises by comparing them to the ones of the bulk or injection molded specimens, in quantitative and qualitative terms. Comparison demonstrates that both polymers exhibit similar behavior in every case, with slight domination of the PLA to the PLA GnP composite. Test results were correlated with the patterns of the specimens’ fractured surfaces, obtained through scanning electron microscopy. Effect of graphene in the dielectrics of the material is also evaluated, with the measurements showing a significant increase in the dielectric values, with the addition of this specific nanocomposite in the material.

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Authors would like to thank Dr. Mirella Suchea (IMT Bucharest) for the SEM support. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


No funding was received for this work.

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Correspondence to M. Petousis.

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Vidakis, N., Petousis, M., Savvakis, K. et al. A comprehensive investigation of the mechanical behavior and the dielectrics of pure polylactic acid (PLA) and PLA with graphene (GnP) in fused deposition modeling (FDM). Int J Plast Technol 23, 195–206 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12588-019-09248-1

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  • Nanopolymer composites
  • 3D printing
  • Fused deposition modeling (FDM)
  • Polylactic acid (PLA)
  • PLA with graphene (PLA GnP)
  • Mechanical properties