Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering


Industrial and Agricultural Technology

First Advisor

David Grewell



Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM™) or fused filament fabrication (FFF) systems are extrusion-based technologies used to produce functional or near functional parts from a wide variety of plastic materials. First patented by S. Scott Crump and commercialized by Stratasys, Ltd in the early 1990s, this technology, like many additive manufacturing systems, offers significant opportunities for the design and production of complex part structures that are difficult if not impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing methods. Standing on the shoulders of a twenty-five year old invention, a rapidly growing open-source development community has exponentially driven interest in FFF technology. However, part quality often limits use in final product commercial markets. Development of accurate and repeatable methods for determining material strength in FFF produced parts is essential for wide adoption into mainstream manufacturing.

This study builds on the empirical, squeeze flow and intermolecular diffusion model research conducted by David Grewell and Avraham Benatar, applying a combined model to predict auto adhesion or healing to FFF part samples. In this research, an experimental study and numerical modeling were performed in order to drive and validate a closed form heat transfer solution for extrusion processes to develop temperature field models. An extrusion-based 3D printing system, with the capacity to vary deposition speeds and temperatures, was used to fabricate the samples. Standardized specimens of Polylactic Acid (PLA) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) filament were used to fabricate the samples with different speeds and temperatures. Micro-scanning of cut and lapped specimens, using an optical microscope, was performed to find the effect of the speed and the temperature on the geometry of the cross-sections.

It was found that by increasing the speed of the extrusion printing, the area of the cross-section and the maximum thickness decrease, while the weld/bead geometry minimum thickness increases at higher speeds, although actual part strength appeared to plateau for speeds above 15mm/sec. Temperature effect was found to increase the geometry minimum thickness. In most cases, test results show that by increasing the speed and the temperature, the geometry strength increases. Non-Linear finite element based numerical modeling was performed to predict the strength of the samples. The geometry produced from the optical microscope scanning and typical PLA material properties were used to create the model. The finite element model was able to predict the strength of the tested samples at different speeds and temperatures. Analysis of resulting data and examination of tested samples offer favorable insights and opportunities for additional and continuing investigation.

Copyright Owner

Steven Leon Devlin



File Format


File Size

160 pages