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The Use of 3D Printing to Introduce Students to ASTM Standards for Testing Tensile Properties of Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) Plastic Material

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Subjects in 3D Printing and ET Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Rex C Kanu Purdue University (Statewide Technology)

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REX KANU is an Assistant Professor in Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue University Polytechnic Institute in Richmond, Indiana. He has a B.S. and an M.S. in Chemical Engineering, an S.M. in Management Science, and a Ph.D. in Polymer Science.

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Caleb Hale Purdue Polytechnic Institute

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Caleb Hale is the Mechanician at Purdue Polytechnic Institute in Richmond Indiana. He supports and sustains the student lab experience primarily in Mechanical Engineering Technology and also in Industrial Technology. Caleb demonstrates, instructs, and supervises lab activities. He sets up labs, tests and maintains operation of lab equipment and secures lab activities related to the course materials and learning objectives.

Caleb has a B.S. Industrial Technology and an A.S. Mechanical Engineering Technology both from Purdue University College of Technology.

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Patrick O'Neal Piper Ivy Tech Community College

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Patrick Piper is currently the Program Chair of Engineering Technology at Ivy Tech Community College in Richmond Indiana. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Southern University in Baton Rouge Louisiana in 1986 and an MBA from Kaplan University 2016. He was employed by Ford Motor Company as a Process Engineer and later as a Quality Engineer in 1987. He also worked as a Quality Manager for a company in Richmond, IN in 2003..

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In a freshman introductory plastics course at a mid-western state university and a technical college, students were introduced to several metals and plastic materials properties and were taught how some of these properties could be determined using testing procedures described in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. One such standard is designated D-638-14, titled “Standard Test Method for Tensile Properties of Plastics,” which states that “test specimens shall be prepared by machining operations, or die cutting, from materials in sheet, plate, slab, or similar form. Specimens can also be prepared by molding the material to be tested.” Missing from the list of test specimen preparation methods are 3D-priting techniques. In this study, students prepared test specimens of Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) plastic material by 3D-printing according to ASTM D638 Type 1 specimen specifications. These test specimens were compared to specimens prepared from ABS sheets by laser cutting to determine if 3D printing had a significant effect on the tensile properties of ABS test specimens. The test specimens prepared by laser cutting served as the control test specimens; this option replaced the use of injection molded specimens as the control test specimens because of the higher costs of the latter specimens. The fused-deposition-modeling 3D-printing machines used in this study were Makerbot™ Replicator 2x, Lulzbot™ TAZ 5, and Stratasys’ Dimensions™. The Instron materials testing machine, model 5967, was used in testing the tensile properties of the ABS specimens.

The objectives of this study were (1) To introduce students to the use of ASTM Standards in testing material properties using 3D printing as a motivation. (2) To determine if 3D-printing is a viable option, both technically and financially, for preparing test specimen for testing the tensile properties of plastic material in accordance with ASTM standards.

Assessment: Students’ knowledge of ASTM standards and their use will be assessed before and after the project using a survey and class quiz as the assessment instruments. The results will be shared in the ASEE conference presentation. Also, the comparability of the test specimen preparation methods, laser cutting and 3D printing, will be presented at the conference.

Kanu, R. C., & Hale, C., & Piper, P. O. (2016, June), The Use of 3D Printing to Introduce Students to ASTM Standards for Testing Tensile Properties of Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) Plastic Material Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27027

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