The impact of 3D printing process parameters on the dielectric properties of high permittivity composites

Fused filament fabrication (FFF) is a well-known and greatly accessible additive manufacturing technology, that has found great use in the prototyping and manufacture of radiofrequency componentry, by using a range of composite thermoplastic materials that possess superior properties, when compared to standard materials for 3D printing. However, due to their nature and synthesis, they are often a great challenge to print successfully which in turn affects their microwave properties. Hence, determining the optimum printing strategy and settings is important to advance this area. The manufacturing study presented in this paper shows the impact of the main process parameters: printing speed, hatch spacing, layer height and material infill, during 3D printing on the relative permittivity (εr), and loss tangent (tanδ) of the resultant additively manufactured test samples. A combination of process parameters arising from this study, allowed successful 3D printing of test samples, that marked a relative permittivity of 9.06 ± 0.09 and dielectric loss of 0.032 ± 0.003.