Prediction of part distortion in Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) of semi crystalline polymers via COMSOL: Effect of printing conditions

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Residual stresses and warpage adversely affect the dimensional accuracy and performance of 3D-printed semi-crystalline polymers in Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM). One of the main challenges in FDM is to understand and relate the impact of printing conditions on part distortion for optimizing the 3D-printing process to achieve good print quality. Hence, the effect of various printing parameters, particularly print bed temperature, layer bonding, layer thickness and raster pattern, on built-up residual stresses and warpage is simulated in this work, by building a relationship between the crystallisation kinetics, viscoelastic and thermo-mechanical properties of the polymer in relation to changes in temperature during FDM using element activation in COMSOL. To the best of our knowledge, this is a novel approach for quantitative prediction of part distortion in FDM of semi-crystalline polymers under various printing conditions. Based on the simulation results, it is observed that a decrease in layer thickness from 0.5 mm to 0.1 mm results in an 89% drop in warpage and a reduction in residual stress of 24%. Applying a line raster pattern reduces warpage and residual stresses by 16% and 36%, respectively in comparison with a zigzag raster pattern. Very good agreement is observed between simulation and experimental results for warpage under various printing conditions. The results of this study can be used to predict and/or minimise part distortion in a semi-crystalline, 3D-printed polymer by simulating the effect of printing parameters on residual stresses during FDM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-453
Number of pages11
JournalCIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology
Early online date15 May 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing (NW CAM) project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme (INT-VA/047), managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The views and opinions in this document do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission or the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). If you would like further information about NW CAM, please contact the lead partner, Catalyst, for details. I would extend my thanks to Monali Dahale, Sean Duffy, William Moses and COMSOL for their support. The authors would also like to thank GH Inspection for providing the 3D scan facility.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
  • 3D printing
  • Simulation
  • Warpage
  • Semi-crystalline polymers
  • Fused deposition modelling (FDM)


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