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Full text of "DTIC AD1035029: Dynamic Response of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Under Impact Loading (Open Access)"

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Owolabi et al. International Journal of Mechanical 
and Materials Engineering (2016) 11:3 
DOI 10.1186/S40712-016-0056-0 

O International Journal of Mechanical 
and Materials Engineering 

a SpringerOpen Journal 


Open Access 

Dynamic response of acrylonitrile 
butadiene styrene under impact loading 


Gbadebo Owolabi 1 ", Alex Peterson 1 , Ed Habtour 2 , Jaret Riddick 2 , Michael Coatney 2 , Adewale Olasumboye 1 
and Denzell Bolling 1 


Background: The goal of the study is to understand the potential energy absorption benefits ofcomponents 
fabricated using fused deposition modeling additive manufacturing under high strain rateloading. 

Methods: Tensile tests were conducted on 3-D printed acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) at differentstrain rates, 
according to the ASTM D638 standard, to assess its strain rate sensitivity under quasi-staticloads. The tensile test 
was also necessary to determine the mechanical properties necessary to characterizethe dynamic response of the 
ABS at high strain rates. The ABS specimens were subjected to high strainrate deformation through the use of the 
split Hopkinson pressure bar. 

Results: During compression, a new phenomenon described as a multistage collapse in which the 
samplesundergo multiple stages of contraction and expansion was observed as the impact load was applied. 
Thismultistage deformation behavior may be attributable to the ring formed around layers in the specimen dueto 
the manner of fabrication which potentially absorbed and released the energy, thus acting as a multistage spring. 
As the velocity of impact increases, it is observed that the ABS capability for energy absorption decreased to where 
there was only one stage of compression equivalent to the initial stage. 

Conclusion: The multistage collapse of the 3-D printed ABS specimen indicates a potential for a novel energy 
absorption mechanism to be exploited at lower strain rates. Future work in the area should include more studies 
about printing orientation, as well as investigating the impact of the presence of the outer cylindrical ring on the 
overall dynamic response. 

Keywords: Additive manufacturing, Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, High strain rates, Dynamic response 


Through the use of direct digital manufacturing (DDM), 
more commonly known as additive manufacturing (AM), 
various thermoplastics can be used as the basis for creating 
models and to be printed for a vast amount of applications 
that could potentially be beneficial with respect to the 
design and manufacturing of mechanical and structural 
components. Using this approach, acrylonitrile butadiene 
styrene (ABS) can be printed at various orientations, and 
the understanding of the effect that this process has on 
their behavior under service loads could lead to poten¬ 
tial benefits that were previously unexplored. DDM 

* Correspondence: 

department of Mechanical Engineering, Howard University, Washington, DC, 

Full list of author information is available at the end of the article 

uses a combination of computer-aided design (CAD) 
and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) as well as 
computer codes designed to interface with advanced 3-D 
additive manufacturing prototyping machines to produce 
a desired component (Yan and Gu 1996). 

This study explores the fused deposition modeling 
(FDM) and the printing orientation as a means to quantify 
the potential benefits of AM to allow for a more cost- 
effective, time-efficient, in-house fabrication of designs, 
while optimizing the mechanical and structural integrity. 
In FDM, CAD software is used to convert a file containing 
a 3-D model into 3-D stereolithography (STL) format. The 
STL file is imported into a CAM software, which produces 
a physical replica of the 3-D model sliced into thin layers 
comprised of tool paths used by the 3-D printing machine 
to place continuous feedstock filament comprised of ABS 


© 2016 Owolabi et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 
International License (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and 
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to 
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. 

Owolabi et al. International Journal of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (2016) 11:3 

Page 2 of 8 

and onto a surface to build up the 3-D component layer- 
by-layer (Riddick et al). Advanced 3-D additive manufac¬ 
turing prototyping (3-D printing) has been used in a variety 
of applications, which include medical designs, oil filter as¬ 
semblies, prototypes, replacement parts, and dental crowns 
(Berman 2012). 

In the design of mechanical and structural components, 
it is essential to understand the mechanical behavior at 
different loading rates based on the desired applications. 
The present investigation is aimed at understanding the 
effect of high strain rate loading (>10 2 s -1 ) on the dynamic 
response of ABS for potential benefits in energy absorp¬ 
tion in mechanical and structural applications. Riddick, et 
al. (Riddick et al.) characterized the effects of varying build 
direction and raster orientation on the strength and stiff¬ 
ness of ABS fabricated by FDM. Results of the experimental 
characterization show that rasters formed parallel to the 
loading direction fabricated in the through-the-thickness 
direction yielded the highest strength and modulus at 
34.17 MPa and 2.79 GPa, respectively. The overall results 
clearly indicated anisotropy in the macroscale response due 
to raster orientation and build direction with respect to the 
load axis. In the area of high strain rate deformation, there 
has been extensive work on understanding the effects of 
high strain rate on metals such as aluminum alloys, steels, 
and other metals (Smerd et al. 2005; Djapic Oosterkamp et 
al. 2000; Odeshi et al. 2006; Lee and Lin 1998). Many ex¬ 
periments on dynamic response of metals have been con¬ 
ducted through the usage of the split Hopkinson pressure 
bar (SHPB) for strain rates greater than 10 2 (Kuhn and 
Dana 2000). Very limited exploratory research has, how¬ 
ever, been conducted on the dynamic response of polymers, 
more specifically ABS. The range of interest for the present 
study (10 2 -10 3 ) is within the capability of the SHPB test ap¬ 
paratus making this setup suitable for completing the ex¬ 
periments required to investigate the dynamic response of 
ABS at high strain rates. 

When observing metals at high strain rates, one of the 
main relationships that are analyzed is the relationship 
between the stress that a material undergoes and the strain 
as the strain rate is increased. Yazdani et al. (2009); Qiang 
et al. (2003); Lee et al. (2005) conducted studies on the 
dynamic deformation of copper and titanium alloys and 
observed that the maximum stress did not change drastic¬ 
ally with increasing strain rates. Siviour et al. (2006) showed 
that the final strain achieved for polymers was directly 
related to the strain rate applied. For polymers, such as 
ABS, the mechanical properties vary considerably from 
those observed in metals. Gaining a better understanding 
of the strain rate dependency of ABS will help in effectively 
determining the stress limits for a given design application 
as a function of the strain rate. 

Mulliken and Boyce (2006) performed studies on charac¬ 
terizing the strain rate dependency of polymers from 10 4 

to 10 4 s _1 . The results demonstrated that an increase in 
strain rate sensitivity was observed at elevated loading rates 
compared to those observed for quasi-static loading. Wally 
and Field (1994) conducted multiple tests on the strain rate 
sensitivity of polymers subjected to loads ranging from 
quasi-static to high strain rates. Samples were formed using 
a solid ABS block to determine the mechanical property at 
various strain rates (Fig. 1). Through the analysis of the 
solid ABS, a linear relationship between the strain rate 
applied and the maximum stress observed in the quasi¬ 
static region was observed (Walley and Field 1994). As the 
transitional phase from quasi-static to dynamic loading is 
reached, there is a drastic change in the increase in the 
gradient of the slope. Unlike observations of adiabatic con¬ 
ditions occurring in metals, there is no drastic change in 

The novelty of the present research is that rather than 
testing a solid block of ABS, machined down to the appro¬ 
priate size, here, an advanced 3-D additive manufacturing 
approach is used to print the specimens. Artifacts of the 
3-D printing process coincidentally create logical struc¬ 
tures for energy absorption. Recent research in multifunc¬ 
tional structures seeks to draw upon bio-mimicry to 
produce graceful progression to plasticity through unique 
damage absorption. Malkin et al. (2013) have considered 
the discontinuous reinforcement phases in high-toughness 
composite nacre as an inspiration to introduce a degree of 
pseudo-ductility to fiber-reinforced polymer. By introdu¬ 
cing ply cuts of various spacings and densities to exploit 
discontinuities inspired by architectures of nacre found in 
nature, pseudo-ductility characterized by graceful collapse 
phenomenon was achieved. Sen and Buehler (2010) 
demonstrated a bottom-up systematic approach rooted in 
atomistic modeling to investigate enhanced defect tolerance 
in hierarchical structures fabricated from brittle material. 
Stable crack propagation resistance due to structural hier¬ 
archy was shown to enable toughness of otherwise brittle 

Owolabi et al. International Journal of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (2016) 11:3 

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Thickness - 
( 3.2 mm) 

-Gage Width 

( 13 mm) 

Gage Length 
( 50 mm) 

Length of Narrow Section 
( 57 mm) 

Length of Narrow Grips 
( 115 mm) 

Length Overall 
( 165 mm) 

Overall Width 
( 19 mm) 

Fig. 2 ASTM D638-03 dog bone (International et al. 2004) 

base material, traditionally highly sensitive to small nano- 
scale defects. Dyskin et al. (2003) proposed a new materials 
design concept in which regular assemblies of topologically 
interlocked elements are the basis for strong flexible com¬ 
posite materials with high impact resistance. The behavior 
that Dyskin et al. (2003) confirmed in layers formed of 
topologically interlocked elements composed of aluminum 
alloy material is an example of pseudo-ductile behavior. 

Khandelwal et al. (2012) fabricated cellular topologically 
interlocking material (TIM) composed of tetrahedral ele¬ 
ments using FDM additive manufacturing of ABS plastic. 
Impact tests demonstrated that the cellular TIMs com¬ 
posed of intrinsically brittle base material exhibited perfect 
softening behavior. The experimental results exhibit a posi¬ 
tive correlation between strength and toughness, which is a 
clear demonstration of pseudo-ductile behavior. It is 

Owolabi et al. International Journal of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (2016) 11:3 

Page 4 of 8 

desirable to understand whether the potential benefits of 3- 
D printed polymer can be harnessed for use in novel mech¬ 
anical and structural applications. The present study ex¬ 
plores FDM-printed materials to quantify the potential 
benefits to dynamic response of structures such as TIMs to 
understand the potential effect on cost-effective, time- 
efficient designs optimized for mechanical strength and 
structural integrity. The primary long-term research goal is 
to formulate concepts for material performance beyond 
present capability to enable new approaches to highly opti¬ 
mized and multifunctional structural designs. 

Experimental Method 

Before experiments at high strain rates were conducted, it 
was essential to understand how the material will behave 
under quasi-static loading condition. This interest arises 
from the fact that majority of polymers are strain rate 
sensitive, i.e., the maximum stress observed in an object 
before deformation, or failure, is directly related to strain 
rate. It can be noticed in Fig. 1 that over a wide range of 
strain rates, there were different levels of maximum stress 
observed in the ABS throughout the experiments. In order 
to understand the tensile properties of the 3-D printed 
ABS, preliminary tensile tests were conducted using the 
ASTM D638-03 Standard Test Method for Tensile Prop¬ 
erties of Plastics. The standard recommends a type I spe¬ 
cimen for rigid and semi rigid plastics (International et al. 
2004). The type I specimen dimensions used in the tensile 
testing are shown in Fig. 2. 

When designing the specimen for tensile testing, it is 
important that the tensile specimen is built such that 
the orientation of the tensile test loads is the same as 
that for the subsequent dynamic tests. The tensile speci¬ 
men was built with each successive layer composed of 0° 
and 90° orientations built from the ground up, as shown 
in Fig. 3. According to the ASTM D638-03 standard 
(International et al. 2004), the test specimen is to be 
tested at a minimum displacement rate of 0.50 cm/min 
to extract the material properties such as the yield point, 
the elastic modulus, and the ultimate tensile strength. 
Using this as a starting point and in order to understand 
if the material was strain rate-dependent, experiments 
were performed at displacement rates of 0.5, 5, 25, 35, 
and 50 cm/min. Figures 4 and 5 show the specimen be¬ 
fore and after testing was conducted. 

Once the tensile testing was completed, the next phase 
in the material design and testing was the dynamic 

Fig. 6 Photographs of the split Hopkinson pressure bar synchronized with data acquisition and digital image correlation systems 

Owolabi et al. International Journal of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (2016) 11:3 

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Fig. 7 a Unpainted specimen, b Painted specimen 



compression loading at high strain rates. The specimens 
for the high strain rate compression test were 8 mm 
long and 8 mm in diameter. The compressive loading 
was conducted using the conventional SHPB shown in 
Fig. 6. The setup comprised of a gas gun connected to a 
striker bar that induced a velocity into the system. The 
impact velocity was then transferred to an incident bar 
which had a strain gage attached to it to capture the dy¬ 
namic response as a result of the applied compression 
on the specimen. The reflected waves from the specimen 
were captured through the same strain gage that re¬ 
corded the incident waves. On the other side of the speci¬ 
men was the transmitted bar which captured the waves 
that were transmitted through the specimen as a result of 
the compressive loading. The measurements were then 
relayed from the strain gage to an oscilloscope, which pro¬ 
vided the output signals. The signals were converted into 
time-domain stress, strain, displacement, force, and strain 
rate. Finally, these parameters were used to consider the 
dynamic response of the ABS cylindrical specimen under 
high strain rates. 

In conjunction with the data captured through the use of 
the strain gages and the oscilloscope, the material deform¬ 
ation was also captured at the same time by utilizing high¬ 
speed digital image correlation (DIC) cameras, shown in 

f \ 

Engineering Strain 

Fig. 8 Stress-strain curve at various strain rates 


Table 1 Tensile testing results 

Displacement rate 

Maximum stress (MPa) 

Elastic modulus (GPa) 

0.5 cm/min 



5 cm/min 



25 cm/min 



50 cm/min 






Fig. 6, which captured the compression at a frame rate of 
124,000 frames per second (fps). The DIC code was subse¬ 
quently utilized to capture the displacements of selected 
points along the load axis as a result of deformation by 
tracking dots that were applied through spray painting pat¬ 
terns of black and white along the length of the specimen. 
A comparison between the plain and the spray-painted 
specimens is shown in Fig. 7. It is important to note that 
the cylindrical specimens are fabricated by FDM in a 
layer-by-layer manner. Each layer is formed by print¬ 
ing a circular ring of material and then filling in the 
ring in a serpentine fashion. The result of this man¬ 
ner of fabrication is a support ring built around layers 
of 3-D printed material, each layer alternating perpen¬ 
dicularly in the plane of the circular cross-section 
(normal to the load direction). 

Results and discussion 

The mechanical testing on the ABS specimen was ac¬ 
complished in two different stages. Tensile testing 
was first conducted to study the strain rate depend¬ 
ency of the ABS and to obtain the mechanical prop¬ 
erties that are required to determine the pressure 
corresponding to a desired impact velocity during 
high strain rate testing. ABS samples were then tested 
at strain rates from 500 to 2000 s' 1 . 

Tensile test results 

Figure 8 shows the stress-strain curve from the tensile 
testing at various displacement rates. Table 1 shows the 
specimen testing rates for strain rate dependency, in ac¬ 
cordance with ASTM D638-03 standards. It was observed 
that the 3-D printed ABS material was brittle; thus, 

Table 2 Strain rate, pressure, and velocity of impact 

ABS 8x8 mm 2 ABS 10x10 mm 2 

cylindrical specimen cylindrical specimen 

Strain rate 
(s' 1 ) 





Strain rate 
(s- 1 ) 



































Owolabi et al. International Journal of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (2016) 11:3 

Page 6 of 8 

Elapsed Time [micro seconds] 


- Bottom 



0 500 1000 1500 2000 

Elapsed Time [micro seconds] 




0 100 200 300 400 

Elapsed Time [micro seconds] 

Fig. 9 Longitudinal stage displacement at different strain rates, a 500 s \ b 1000 s \ c 1500 s d 2000 s 1 

V J 

evidence of plastic deformation was not apparent in the 
tensile experiments, which was directly related to the 
manner in which the material was built. The specimens 
experienced tensile stress between 3.4 to 4.8 MPa prior to 
fracture for strain rates of 0.5 to 50 cm/min, respectively, 
as shown in Fig. 8. However, the modulus of elasticity 
appeared to be consistent among the specimens, as shown 
in Table 1. 

Dynamic compression tests results 

The average maximum stress from the tensile test re¬ 
sults was used in a MATLAB code to determine the ap¬ 
plied pressure corresponding to the targeted impact 
velocities for various strain rates to which the samples 
were subjected to as shown in Table 2. 

Figure 9 shows the deformation observed due to 
compression with respect to time, where Y is the longi¬ 
tudinal displacement. The results showed that at lower 
strain rates, there were different stages of deformation 
observed while the specimen underwent one initial im¬ 
pact. Using the DIC, the deformation evolutions at 
three different points, i.e., the top, the middle, and the 
bottom location reference points, were captured and 
analyzed as the specimens were impacted at different 
strain rates as shown in Fig. 9. At a strain rate of 500 s 
_1 , compression was not evident until about 200 ps as 
shown in Fig. 9a. Beyond this stage, however, the 

compression began and the specimen contracted longi¬ 
tudinally. Towards the end of this stage, the material 
expanded slightly noting that the overall displacement 
increased until the next stage of contractions occurred. 
As the induced strain rate increased, the stages of de¬ 
formation decreased until eventually there was only one 
stage at 2000 s -1 as shown in Fig. 9b-d. The displace¬ 
ments observed by the system were also evident in the 
compression video captured by the high-speed cameras. 
This phenomenon of multistage contraction and expan¬ 
sion may be due to the support ring built around the 
3-D printed material, which holds the perpendicular 
layers in place, beginning to absorb and displace energy 
acting as a multistage spring. Once the outer ring 
reached its maximum limit of energy absorption, it col¬ 
lapsed and the energy was transferred to the 

Table 3 Specimen Height 

Strain rate 

Initial height 

Average final 
height (mm) 
















Owolabi et al. International Journal of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (2016) 11:3 

Page 7 of 8 

perpendicular layers causing a complete fracture of the 
sample at 2000 s _1 . 

Table 3 shows the initial height of the specimen 
before deformation in comparison to the final height. 
Interestingly, at the lowest strain rate of 500 s _1 , the 
specimen shows signs of actually expanding after the 
compression process was completed. Once a strain 
rate of 750 s -1 was reached, the average final height 
began gradually to decrease, and from this strain 
rate, failure began to occur by buckling until 
complete fracture was observed. At a strain rate of 
2000 s- 1 , the specimen underwent about a 60 % re¬ 
duction in size, which was the strain rate at which 
fracture occurred. The damage evolution of the spe¬ 
cimen started to become drastic once the applied 
strain rate exceeded 1000 s -1 , as shown in Fig. 10 
which provides the images of the specimens after 

The specimen failure as a function of the strain rate 
can be divided into two different strain rate ranges: 
the first consisting of strain rate from 500 to 1000 s 
-1 and the second consisting of the final two strain 
rates 1500 and 2000 s -1 as shown in Fig. 11. As the 
transition from one strain range to the other oc¬ 
curred, the corresponding yield point changed along 

c \ 

Fig. 11 Stress-strain curve under dynamic compression loading at 
various strain rates 


with the maximum stress. For a strain rate of 1500 s 
1 the yield point and the maximum stress were 91.6 
and 93.1 MPa, respectively. For the strain rate of 
2000 s' 1 , yielding occurred at 89.70 MPa and the 
maximum stress was 96.70 MPa. In this range of 
strain rate, there was also significant stress drop, 
followed by strain hardening and then a drastic de¬ 
crease in stress as a result of stress collapse. 


The present study presents the results of exploratory 
studies conducted to understand the effect of 3-D 
printing on the response of ABS polymer under dy¬ 
namic loading. At strain rates above 1000 s” 1 applied 
using the split Hopkinson pressure bar experiment, 
failure begins to occur in the printed ABS by buck¬ 
ling characterized by increasing height reduction and 
crushing as the strain rate increases beyond 1000 s _1 
up to complete failure at 2000 s -1 . Below the 1000 s 
_1 limit, there is minimal height reduction or evi¬ 
dence of failure observed. At the lower strain rates, 
images captured through the use of the DIC system 
indicate iterative contraction and expansion of the 
material as the incident load is applied. The iterative be¬ 
havior may be due to the support ring built around the 3-D 
printed material, which holds the perpendicular layers in 
place, beginning to absorb and displace energy acting as a 
multistage spring. The dynamic results indicate that the 
specimen shows a linear relationship between the true 
stress and the true strain up to its yield point. The highest 
plastic deformation is observed at higher strain rates along 
with higher levels of stress. However, as the strain rate is in¬ 
creased, there is more evidence of stress collapse ultimately 
leading to the failure of the specimens. The multistage col¬ 
lapse of the 3-D printed ABS specimen indicates a potential 
for a novel energy absorption mechanism to be exploited at 
lower strain rates. Future work in the area should include 
more studies about printing orientation, as well as investi¬ 
gating the impact of the presence of the outer cylindrical 
ring on the overall dynamic response. 

Competing interests 

The authors declare that they have no competing interests. 

Owolabi et at. International Journal of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (2016) 11:3 

Page 8 of 8 

Authors' contributions 

All authors read and approved the final manuscript. 


The authors are grateful for the financial support provided by the Department 
of Defense (DOD) through the research and educational program for HBCU/MSI 
(contract # W911NF-12-1-061) monitored by Dr. Asher A. Rubinstein (Solid 
Mechanics Program Manager, ARO). Alex Peterson is also grateful for the 
summer financial support provided via the College Qualified Program 
sponsored by the American Society of Engineering Education and the 
DOD that gives interested students, both undergraduate and graduate 
level, the opportunity for research internship in the DOD labs. 

Author details 

department of Mechanical Engineering, Howard University, Washington, DC, 
USA. 2 US Army Research Lab, Vehicle Technology Directorate, Aberdeen 
Proving Ground, Aberdeen, MD, USA. 

Received: 22 December 2015 Accepted: 8 March 2016 
Published online: 16 March 2016 


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r v 

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