Cornell software supports Additive Manufacturing on International Space Station

February 7, 2022

AM modelling software has been successfully tested aboard the international space station (Courtesy NASA)

Modelling software from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA, has been successfully tested on board the international space station (ISS) as part of a collaboration between the university, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), NASA and the ISS US National Laboratory. The software, created by the Cornell Fracture Group, simulates the Additive Manufacturing process and allows the user to build more successful parts.

The experiment, conducted on January 1, was part of an ongoing effort to demonstrate the functionality of the HPE Spaceborne Computer-2, an edge computing system with artificial intelligence capabilities which is expected to enable real-time processing of large amounts of data in space, without the data being relayed between Earth.

For the last year, astronauts have been running an array of experiments on the system, ranging from processing medical imaging to DNA sequencing to Additive Manufacturing. While on earth AM can benefit from simulation models, it becomes all the more important in space. The lack of gravity, differences in time and spatial scales, and radical changes in temperature could all hinder the process, resulting in wasted material and unusable parts.

“Let’s say you’re in space and you need a part,” stated Derek Warner, professor at the College of Engineering who heads the Cornell Fracture Group. “If you just were to draw the part or upload a CAD file to your 3D printer and press print, it probably won’t work, just because 3D printing isn’t at that level of maturity. You would need to adjust the printing process and the parameters, so it will come out successful and you won’t waste your material.”

Utilising experience gained in the Cornell Fracture Group, where research is conducted to better understand the deformation of AM structures, doctoral student Terrence Moran designed the modelling software to act as a virtual Additive Manufacturing machine, in an effort to save time and material.

“Previously, this was computationally infeasible due to discrepancies in time and spatial scales and high thermal gradients,” Moran stated. “So we developed the software with a physics-based model, made it portable, and uploaded it to the ISS. It was successfully run and the results were consistent with the results we’d done during our research. The timing and everything were the same.”

On the potential applications of this software, Warner concluded, “One of the allures of 3D printing is that you can manufacture locally. So the neat thing about this is that, while space might be the most extreme environment, for the military or on oil rigs or other places, there’s also going to be a need for doing the same thing. This demonstrates that it’s possible.”

About Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine

Metal AM magazine, published quarterly in digital and print formats, is read by a rapidly expanding international audience.

Our audience includes component manufacturers, end-users, materials and equipment suppliers, analysts, researchers and more.

In addition to providing extensive industry news coverage, Metal AM magazine is known for exclusive, in-depth articles and technical reports.

Our focus is the entire metal AM process from design to application.

Each issue is available as an easy-to-navigate digital edition and a high-quality print publication.

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF

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

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

  • AM machines
  • Process monitoring & calibration
  • Heat treatment & sintering
  • HIP systems & services
  • Pre- & post-processing technology
  • Powders, powder production and analysis
  • Part manufacturers
  • Consulting, training & market data
View online

Discover our magazine archive…

The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

Browse the archive

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap