Skip to main content

Recycling of CF-ABS machining waste for large format additive manufacturing

Publication Type
Journal Name
Composites Part B: Engineering
Publication Date
Page Number

Large format additive manufacturing (LFAM) necessitates the use of short fiber thermoplastic composites, such as carbon fiber filled acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, to enable printing. Currently, when LFAM parts are machined into their final shape, the machining scrap (i.e., small flake like particles and offcuts) is landfilled. Previous studies have demonstrated the viability of recycling end-of-life LFAM parts by shredding and optionally re-compounding the material back into pellets. However, there is little understanding of the value and performance of recycled material made from LFAM machining scrap, which if pursued could motivate more broad recycling of this waste stream. In this study, recycled in-process machining scrap is explored as an LFAM feedstock source. Herein, it is found that the primary degradation mechanism of the recycled material is significant fiber length attrition during surface machining. While this fiber attrition negatively impacts the mechanical performance of the material in the print direction, it seems that the changes in processing behaviors and print quality, namely the surface roughness of the printed structure associated with shorter fiber lengths, is beneficial to interlayer adhesion. The tensile strength and elastic modulus of the recycled material, in the print direction, decreased 11% and 31% respectively compared to the pristine material. However, in the layer-wise direction it was found that the recycled material exhibited no significant change in elastic modulus and a significant 21% increase in tensile strength – a surprising result. This work indicates that machining waste could be a viable material stream for recycled LFAM feedstock materials.