UHMWPE-Based Glass-Fiber Composites Fabricated by FDM. Multiscaling Aspects of Design, Manufacturing and Performance
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMaterials. 2021, 14 (6), 1-28. 10.3390/ma14061515
The aim of the paper was to improve the functional properties of composites based on ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) by loading with reinforcing fibers. It was achieved by designing the optimal composition for its subsequent use as a feedstock for 3D-printing of guides for roller and plate chains, conveyors, etc. As a result, it was experimentally determined that loading UHMWPE with 17% high density polyethylene grafted with VinylTriMethoxySilane (HDPE-g-VTMS) was able to bind 5% glass fillers of different aspect ratios, thereby determining the optimal mechanical and tribological properties of the composites. Further increasing the content of the glass fillers caused a deterioration in their tribological properties due to insufficient adhesion of the extrudable matrix due to the excessive filler loading. A multi-level approach was implemented to design the high-strength anti-friction ‘UHMWPE+17%HDPE-g-VTMS+12%PP’-based composites using computer-aided algorithms. This resulted in the determination of the main parameters that provided their predefined mechanical and tribological properties and enabled the assessment of the possible load-speed conditions for their operation in friction units. The uniform distribution of the fillers in the matrix, the pattern of the formed supermolecular structure and, as a consequence, the mechanical and tribological properties of the composites were achieved by optimizing the values of the main control parameters (the number of processing passes in the extruder and the aspect ratio of the glass fillers).