America Makes announces awardees of its Directed Project Opportunity for AM technologies

May 21, 2019

May 21, 2019

America Makes has announced five awardees of its Directed Project Opportunity for Advanced Tools for Rapid Qualification (ATRQ) funded by the Department of Defense (DoD), Office of the Secretary of Defense, Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy Office (OSD/MIBP) through the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The ATRQ Directed Project Opportunity seeks to promote and accelerate the development and deployment of innovative, cost effective, and energy-efficient Additive Manufacturing technologies with the objective of meeting defense and/or commercial needs.

The project is driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes and OSD/AFRL are aiming to make available approximately $3.9 million to fund multiple awards with at least $1.95 million in matching funds from the awarded project teams for total funding worth roughly $5.9 million.

“The DoD’s need for rapid qualification and certification of AM processes and materials is great,” stated Rob Gorham, NCDMM’s Executive Director of America Makes. “The outcomes of the ATRQ Directed Projects from the selected awardees certainly have the potential to be game-changers for the DoD’s wider adoption of Additive Manufacturing, particularly using Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) technology and materials. On behalf of all of us at NCDMM and America Makes, we extend our congratulations to the five awarded project teams.”

John Wilczynski, America Makes Technology Director, commented, “These five project teams outlined what we believe are the best approaches to identifying and solving the corrosion induced defects and failures of L-PBF manufactured parts, as well as the overall degradation of AM components due to harsh environments. The impact of these projects will certainly increase the collective knowledge in understanding the root causes of the defects, failures, and degradation of parts and thus, significantly improving the designs of components and further innovating the processes used to make them.”

Subject to the finalisation of all contractual details and requirements, the selected America Makes ATRQ Directed Project Opportunity Awardees include:

Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation

Led by Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation with the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), this project team seeks to better understand the corrosion mechanisms of L-PBF manufactured components using the aluminum powder alloy, AlSi10Mg. Current L-PBF alloys like AlSi10Mg exhibit corrosion behaviour, unique to AM, which is dependent on manufacturing artifacts, such as roughness, surface porosity, the presence of protective films, and process melt pool solidification dynamics.

This unique corrosion behaviour is not yet well understood and creates a roadblock to DoD adoption of L-PBF parts for mission-critical defense systems in potentially corrosive environments. Part families of particular interest include liquid cold plates, heat exchangers, and external aircraft components across our sustainment support programs. Using these part families as a basis of research, the goal of this project is to develop corrosion-specific process guidelines for L-PBF AlSi10Mg that will relate material, process, post-process, and environment to corrosion behaviour.

Wichita State University – National Institute for Aviation Research

Led by Wichita State University (WSU) – National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), in conjunction with Auburn University, EWI, Rapid Prototype + Manufacturing LLC. (rp+m), and the ASTM AM Center of Excellence (CoE), a collaborative, which includes ASTM International, Auburn University, EWI, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), WSU–NIAR, this project team seeks to overcome the performance limitations and degradation of Additive Manufacturing polymer materials when subjected to demanding, harsh environments detected in-theater and in-service, preventing the wider adoption of AM.

In order to address the service life of Additive Manufacturing as it relates to quantifying service life of additively manufactured (SLAM) polymer parts, the development and delivery of a manufacturing framework is required. To date the vision of AM to achieve per-layer certification coupled with process simulation and virtual allowables that eliminate nearly all physical testing remains just beyond reach. Specifically, the SLAM project will build on previous learnings, documentation, and methodologies to create a set of qualification tools that will enable a leapfrog for future sets of multiple materials, including UTLEM™ 9085, and processes, enabling AM to be fully utilised today as part of the path to realising the per-layer goal and ultimately, achieving AM parts with less limitations and degradations.

3D Systems Corporation

Led by 3D Systems Corporation, in conjunction with Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), the University of Akron, and Northrup Grumman Innovation Services (NGIS), this project team seeks to develop a corrosion performance design guide for additively manufactured nickel-base alloy 625 in an effort to minimise saltwater corrosion of components made from this superalloy in DoD weapon systems, especially in U.S. Navy ship components, ranging from naval seawater cooling channels to heat exchangers and valves.

Additionally, high-speed ground-, sea- and air-launched munition parts may become prone to corrosion when stored in or near marine environments. As efforts to integrate metal Additive Manufacturing into these supply chains accelerate, the industrial base must discern susceptibility of AM parts to corrosion and related effects of post-processing. This understanding will form the basis of a design guide that will optimise manufacturing processes that not only limits corrosion, but also considers the corrosion in component design and production.

The Ohio State University

Led by the Ohio State University, in conjunction with Rolls-Royce Corporation, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Proto Precision Additive, and BlueQuartz Software, LLC, this project team seeks to develop an understanding and the tools to overcome the qualification hurdles related to the formation of Additive Manufacturing defects, specifically those from L-PBF, and their effect on performance.

In order to develop the fundamental understanding of effects of defects (EoD), it is necessary to be able to generate representative defects in a controlled manner, allowing for quantitative studies of their debit on material properties and their ensuing probability of detection (PoD). This project team intends to develop methodologies for generating multiple classes of these controlled representative defects in relevant component geometries through the delivery of a technical data package and a software toolset.

The Pennsylvania State University – Applied Research Laboratory

Led by the Pennsylvania State University, through its Applied Research Laboratory (ARL Penn State), in conjunction with 3D Systems Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Applied Optimization, Inc., this project team seeks to develop and demonstrate methods for the generation and characterisation of defects representative of those formed during L-PBF of the titanium alloy, Ti-6Al-4V. Specifically, this project will target the reproduction of surrogate defects that are formed during processing through anomalous interactions and process variations. Such defects, including lack-of-fusion and spherical porosity, have been observed during L-PBF and are considered likely to lead to degradation in properties and performance of otherwise high-quality, dense components.

By demonstrating reliable generation of specific flaw morphologies (e.g. size, shape, orientation, etc.) at intended locations, a framework for qualification of AM designs, processes, and components will provide the necessary tools to revolutionise the understanding of the impact of defects in L-PBF. It will also enable controlled and systematic evaluation of material performance as a function of defect characteristics and the creation of reliable, model-based guidance on appropriate limits for defect morphology and locations within components.

According to America Makes, the anticipated start date of the projects is June 2019.

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal powders in Additive Manufacturing: An exploration of sustainable production, usage and recycling
  • Inside Wayland Additive: How innovation in electron beam PBF is opening new markets for AM
  • An end-to-end production case study: Leveraging data-driven machine learning and autonomous process control in AM
  • Consolidation, competition, and the cost of certification: Insight from New York’s AM Strategies 2024
  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

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