The prediction of the mechanical properties of AM parts is very important in order to design and fabricate parts not only of any geometrical shape but also with variable or customized mechanical properties. A limited number of investigations have focused on the analysis and prediction of the mechanical properties of AM parts using theoretical and numerical approaches such as the Finite Element Method (FEM); nevertheless, their results have been not accurate yet. Thus, more research work is needed in order to develop reliable prediction models able to estimate the mechanical performance of AM parts before fabrication.

In this paper the analysis and numerical simulation of the mechanical performance of FDM samples with variable infill values is presented. The aim is to predict the mechanical performance of FDM components using numerical models. Thus, several standard tensile test specimens were fabricated in an FDM system using different infill values, a constant layer thickness, one shell perimeter, and PLA material. These samples were measured and modelled in a CAD system before performing the experimental tensile tests. Numerical models and simulations based on the FEM method were then developed and carried out in order to predict the structural performance of the specimens. Finally the experimental and numerical results were compared and conclusions drawn.

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