Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Suzette Burckhard


Compressive analysis of a structural member is the determination of the axial capacity of the member when it is undergoing a load causing the member to fail in either a buckling or a crushing mode. 3D printed plastic columns have not been characterized and analyzed yet. However, this research characterizes 3D-printed PLA columns and provides parameters for future researchers to investigate. The literature describes the different industries that utilize 3D-printing. In this research, we introduce an innovative approach to investigate the stresses produced in a 3D printed composite member, made of PLA and locally available soil. The compressive testing will determine the behavior and mechanical properties of the 3D printed structural members. The compressive properties of the structural members were analyzed by following ASTM D695 Standard Test Method for Compressive Properties of Rigid Plastics. Then, design improvements were done to enhance the structural members’ axial capacity and overall strength. It was discovered in this research that incorporating sand inside the structural member increases the overall axial capacity of the member. The different printing parameters presented different results in the different observed stresses. The failure of the structural members resembled a crushing failure along either the seam of the print or at the individual strands.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Three-dimensional printing.


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright