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Observation of impact energy absorption performance on idealised trabecular forms in laser sintered nylon

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journal contribution
posted on 06.01.2017, 11:04 by John McCardleJohn McCardle, Joseph Bunyan
Purpose - This paper aims to investigate whether the trabecular architecture found in natural bone can be effectively replicated through the selective laser sintering process of Nylon P2200. Design/methodology/approach - Trabecular bone was idealised into a scaled up hexagonal cell proven to replicate the natural structure. The structure was modelled in Solidworks 2013 to form a network of interlinking cells. The specific property analysed was the structure toughness through the measurement of the energy absorbed before sample fracture. Findings - It was found that the impact absorption can be increased with the integration of a greater number of trabecular cells producing a finer resolution and not necessarily by increasing the trabecular size. The information gained from this research may be useful in the design of impact and shock absorbing components, with an emphasis on efficient use of material mass. Research limitations/implications - Designers and engineers may find biomimetic methods of absorbing shock and impact an efficient alternative consideration in design applications. Practical implications - The trabecular architecture should be designed so as to be weaker than the bounding surfaces, ensuring that the individual trabecular experience failure first, maximising their energy absorbing capability through increasing the period of deceleration. The simplest way of doing this is to ensure the rod thickness is less than the bounding material thickness. Originality/value - This work documents original testing of both the RP material and consolidated design of samples of idealised bone structures. It builds on previous work in the area and through the results of empirical testing, derives recommendations for further considerations in this area of design and manufacture of biomimetic structures.



  • Design

Published in

Rapid Prototyping Journal






895 - 900


MCCARDLE, J. and BUNYAN, J., 2016. Observation of impact energy absorption performance on idealised trabecular forms in laser sintered nylon. Rapid Prototyping Journal, 22 (6), pp. 895-900.


© Emerald Group Publishing Limited


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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Rapid Prototyping Journal and the definitive published version is available at