Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title





School of Engineering




Edith Cowan University


Bakhtiari, H., Nikzad, M., & Tolouei-Rad, M. (2023). Influence of three-dimensional printing parameters on compressive properties and surface smoothness of polylactic acid specimens. Polymers, 15(18), article 3827.


While the mechanical performance of fused filament fabrication (FFF) parts has been extensively studied in terms of the tensile and bending strength, limited research accounts for their compressive performance. This study investigates the effect of four process parameters (layer height, extrusion width, nozzle temperature, and printing speed) on the compressive properties and surface smoothness of FFF parts made of Polylactic Acid (PLA). The orthogonal Taguchi method was employed for designing the experiments. The surface roughness and compressive properties of the specimens were then measured and optimized using the analysis of variance (ANOVA). A microscopic analysis was also performed to identify the failure mechanism under static compression. The results indicated that the layer height had the most significant influence on all studied properties, followed by the print speed in the case of compressive modulus, hysteresis loss, and residual strain; extrusion width in the case of compressive strength and specific strength; and nozzle temperature in the case of toughness and failure strain. The optimal design for both high compressive properties and surface smoothness were determined as a 0.05 mm layer height, 0.65 mm extrusion width, 205 °C nozzle temperature, and 70 mm/s print speed. The main failure mechanism observed by SEM analysis was delamination between layers, occurring at highly stressed points near the stitch line of the PLA prints. © 2023 by the authors.



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