MSC Software, Newport Beach, California, USA, and the Materials Innovation Guild (MIG) at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA, have launched a new research collaboration focused on advancing Additive Manufacturing technologies through microstructure simulation. Through the MIG, the University of Louisville assists organisations such as NASA and Boeing in the development of Additive Manufacturing programmes, as well as training future engineers in new design and production techniques.
Under the partnership, MSC Software will support the university’s on-site and distance learning by supplying software and training. Start-ups in the university’s 3D Printing Business Incubator will also have access to MSC Software products in conjunction with education in the techno-economic aspects of AM to enhance its competitiveness in product and manufacturing design.
The consistency of material properties in new designs remains a barrier to the adoption of AM in high-performance and high-reliability applications. MIG research will use MSC Software’s Simufact and Digimat modelling and simulation platforms to understand the fundamental materials properties and microstructure in metal powders, polymers and composites, and how to exploit the relationship between materials and design in AM.
Dr Sundar Atre, Endowed Chair of Manufacturing and Materials at the MIG commented, “By integrating MSC’s Simufact and Digimat platforms into MIG’s research and teaching initiatives, I believe we will provide the opportunity to introduce new material, design and product innovations in healthcare, defence and transportation.”
The MIG is currently collaborating with NASA on a new metal Fused Filament Fabrication process which it calls MF3. MF3 will be simulated in the Digimat-AM product as part of the collaboration. Dr Kunal Kate, Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville, explained, “MF3 or similar powder-binder based 3D printing processes require post-processing steps of debinding and sintering, that are currently subject to trial-and-error experiments. Combining experimental research with the capabilities of MSC Software can develop new tools that predict 3D printed part material properties and effectively capture post debinding and sintering effects for powder-polymer based 3D printing,”