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Mechanical evaluation of elastomeric thermoplastic polyurethane additively manufactured triply periodic minimal surface area lattice structures for adjustable cushioning properties

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posted on 2024-05-22, 16:11 authored by Fay ClaybrookFay Claybrook, Darren SoutheeDarren Southee, Mazher MohammedMazher Mohammed

Purpose 

Cushioning is a useful material property applicable for a range of applications from medical devices to personal protective equipment. The current ability to apply cushioning in a product context is limited by the appropriateness of available materials, with polyurethane foams being the current gold standard material. The purpose of this study is to investigate additively manufactured flexible printing of scaffold structures as an alternative. 

Design/methodology/approach 

In this study, this study investigates triply periodic minimal surface (TPMS) structures, including Gyroid, Diamond and Schwarz P formed in thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), as a possible alternative. Each TPMS structure was fabricated using material extrusion additive manufacturing and evaluated to ASTM mechanical testing standard for polymers. This study focuses attention to TPMS structures fabricated for a fixed unit cell size of 10 mm and examine the compressive properties for changes in the scaffold porosity for samples fabricated in TPU with a shore hardness of 63A and 90A. 

Findings 

It was discovered that for increased porosity there was a measured reduction in the load required to deform the scaffold. Additionally, a complex relationship between the shore hardness and the stiffness of a structure. It was highlighted that through the adjustment of porosity, the compressive strength required to deform the scaffolds to a point of densification could be controlled and predicted with high repeatability. 

Originality/value 

The results indicate the ability to tailor the scaffold design parameters using both 63A and 90A TPU material, to mimic the loading properties of common polyurethane foams. The use of these structures indicates a next generation of tailored cushioning using additive manufacturing techniques by tailoring both geometry and porosity to loading and compressive strengths.

Funding

Loughborough University

History

School

  • Design and Creative Arts

Department

  • Design

Published in

Rapid Prototyping Journal

Publisher

Emerald

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© Emerald Publishing Limited

Publisher statement

This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact permissions@emerald.com

Acceptance date

2024-04-07

Publication date

2024-05-13

Copyright date

2024

ISSN

1355-2546

Language

  • en

Depositor

Fay Claybrook. Deposit date: 15 May 2024

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