Energy absorption capability of structures with embedded pores depends upon the amount of voids present and their configurations/distributions. In this study, the energy absorption of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA) structures with varying pore shapes and sizes are investigated. The research was performed by two teams comprised of High School/Middle School teachers and undergraduate students as part of National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored Research Experience for Teacher (RET)/Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) teams. ABS samples were fabricated by Team 1 and utilized cubic unit cells with octahedral pores while Team 2 fabricated PLA samples that utilized unit cells with spherical pores. Eight sets of samples with dimensions 25mm × 25mm × 20mm were fabricated using a Makerbot Replicator 2X for ABS samples and a Lulzbot TAZ 5 for PLA samples. Each sample incorporated a 5 × 5 × 4 array of pores. All the samples were tested in compression and energy absorption per unit material volume of all the samples up to a particular maximum load was calculated from load-deflection curves. It is observed that the specific energy absorption of PLA and ABS porous structures greatly increases with increased porosity.

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