The refractive indices, attenuation coefficients, and level of birefringence of various 3D printing plastics may change depending on the printing parameters. Transmission terahertz time-domain spectroscopy was used to look for such effects in Copolyester (CPE), Nylon, Polycarbonate (PC), Polylactic acid, and Polypropylene. The thickness of each sample was measured using an external reference structure and time-of-flight measurements. The parameters varied were printer nozzle size, print layer height, and print orientation. Comparison of these parameters showed that a printer's nozzle size and print layer height caused no change in real refractive index or attenuation coefficient. A change in printing orientation from vertical to horizontal caused an increase both in real refractive index and in attenuation coefficient. In vertically printed samples, the increase in birefringence was proportional to the increase in layer height and inversely proportional to nozzle size. There was no measurable intrinsic birefringence in the horizontally printed samples. These effects should be taken into account in the design of FDM 3D printed structures that demand tailored refractive indices and attenuation coefficients, while also providing a foundation for nondestructive evaluation of FDM 3D printed objects and structures.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)