Compression molding is known to be one of the most cost-effective method to manufacture Polymer-based composite parts including pure thermoplastics, e.g. PolyLactic Acid (PLA). One of the current research questions is how a new innovative technology like 3D printing compares to compression molding in terms of mechanical performance of final parts.
This study aims at comparing the mechanical performance of dog-bone tensile coupons manufacturing using compression molding and 3D printing. The compression molding manufacturing process parameters are optimized to obtain maximum mechanical properties. This study investigates the effect of each parameter, including processing temperature, processing pressure, and dwell times on tensile modulus and strength of a pure PLA part coupon per ASTM D638-14. The entire study is conducted using a total of 54 specimens manufactured in a set of 9 batches for various combination of process parameters per Design Of Experiment (DOE). Optimum process parameters for PLA 3D printing have been obtained from previous studies and are used for comparison purposes. A comparison of mechanical performance of ASTM D638 coupons manufactured using optimum compression molding and 3D printing techniques is performed.