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Friction Induced Wear of Rapid Prototyping Generated Materials: A Review

DOI: 10.1155/2011/746270

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Additive manufacturing has been introduced in the early 80s and has gained importance as a manufacturing process ever since. Even though the inception of the implicated processes predominantly focused on prototyping purposes, during the last years rapid prototyping (RP) has emerged as a key enabling technology for the fabrication of highly customized, functionally gradient materials. This paper reviews friction-related wear phenomena and the corresponding deterioration mechanisms of RP-generated components as well as the potential of improving the implicated materials' wear resistance without significantly altering the process itself. The paper briefly introduces the concept of RP technologies and the implicated materials, as a premises to the process-dependent wear progression of the generated components for various degeneration scenarios (dry sliding, fretting, etc.). 1. Introduction Rapid prototyping (RP) poses a promising alternative to conventional manufacturing techniques during concept evaluation, design optimization, rapid tooling, and lately for direct production of customer driven products. The comparative advantages of additive manufacturing are both cost and time related while RP facilitates the direct incorporation of functional characteristics into the final product. The basic concept of RP techniques relays on the conversion of 3D geometries, generated or processed by computer-aided design (CAD), into an STL file format. This is followed by the segmentation of the object in a series of overlaying layers, an essential step in the bottom-up approach of any additive manufacturing process. RP processes initiate with the construction of the objects’ base layer and progress upwards, with each layer being deposited/formed on top of the proceeding one, finally resulting in the desired 3D geometry. This approach circumvents limitations associated with conventional manufacturing methods, provides products with competitive strength characteristics, allows the fabrication of geometries of unequal complexity, while simplifying the incorporation of application specific features into the produced object [1]. Several industrial sectors (automotive, aerospace, and medical) have embraced, supported, and in some cases even dictated recent advances in RP, leading to customized, high added value products, whereas the implicated technologies can be easily extended to numerous other applications. Rapid prototyping technologies can be categorized into three main categories: solid based like fused deposition modeling (FDM), powder based as selective laser

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