Penn State Engineering receives US army grant to advance high-strength steel Additive Manufacturing

March 5, 2021

Researchers at Penn State College of Engineering, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA, have received a grant of $434,000 from the United States Army to develop Additive Manufacturing techniques for high-strength steels and alloys.

These materials can be difficult to manufacture traditionally but are well-suited to, and currently used in, many defence-adjacent applications such as personal armour, armoured vehicles, specialised facilities for blast & ballistic protection and ship hulls.

“These steels exhibit much higher cracking sensitivities and lower overall weldability, which make them notoriously challenging to produce,” stated Todd Palmer, professor of Engineering Science & Mechanics and Materials Science & Engineering, who will act as principal investigator of the project.

Palmer, along with co-principal investigator Amrita Basak, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, plan to use AM to expand the functions of these high-strength materials in order to save costs and increase utility

The laser-based directed energy deposition (DED) AM process could allow engineers to design more intricate pieces; however, the properties of the steel and their manufacturing process need to be better understood and controlled.

“These materials are a completely new class for Additive Manufacturing,” commented Basak. “What we find can help the research community pursue this further, and perhaps the Army will discover new ways to use these materials to further their mission.”

The researchers will specifically study wire-based DED, which they suggest could increase cost-effectiveness by producing fewer wasted materials.

While a large part of the project will be based around computer models to test and refine the parameters, the team will not be limited to solely creating simulations. The researchers plan to manufacture large-scale components to provide impactful experimental data.

Combined with the abilities of the faculty and students, the laboratories at Penn State — such as the Materials Research Institute, the Applied Research Laboratory, Center for Innovative Materials Processing Through Direct Digital Deposition and the Center for Innovative Sintered Products — lead the researchers to believe they will be able to push the current boundary of Additive Manufacturing.

“In this project, we are exploring very large structures. If we didn’t have 3D printers large enough to create these, we couldn’t do much,” Basak added. “But we have many, and we will use them all to successfully complete this project.”

Palmer concluded, “A real strength of Penn State is our vertical integration around Additive Manufacturing. We have experts on the experimental side and also on materials, numerical methods and machine learning. That’s what sets us apart: We can bring these people across disciplines together.”

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

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

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
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap