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I'm writing a research paper about the implications of additive manufacturing for space travel. As a part of this paper, I'm going to illustrate some of the drawbacks of 3D printed objects such as how the strength of an object depends on the direction of the force relative to the layer arrangement. I was wondering if, alongside a practical demonstration, I could somehow use some high definition equipment to image the bonding of the plastic vertically and horizontally as a result of the 3D printing process?

Would anyone know what kind of equipment I would need for such a thing(or if there are any studies about it)?

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  • $\begingroup$ If I had to guess, some low temperature polishing to prevent creep and a scanning electron microscope. But I would ask a university’s polymer department, they might have some experience with it. $\endgroup$
    – Ezra
    Dec 20, 2020 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ I'd try to cast epoxy around the object, sand and polish the surface down to a mirror finish, rinse it in an ultrasonic cleaner. Then I'd use a standard metallographic microscope first to make images of layer-to-layer and shell-to-shell bonds. If you then need still more resolution, you can still fire electron beams on your specimen. $\endgroup$
    – jwagn
    Dec 21, 2020 at 23:13

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