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John O | March 2019

University selected to lead million-dollar project to advance additive manufacturing processes

By Josh Perry, Editor


Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.) has been selected by America Makes, a national accelerator for additive manufacturing, to lead a $1 million project to advance additive manufacturing postprocessing techniques, according to a report from the school.


Research assistant Mandar Shinde uses structured illumination to measure the surface roughness of a 3D-printed metal specimen. (Erika Gronek/ASU)


The university has been partnering with Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc., a leader in numerical simulation, product development, and 3-D printing also based in Tempe.


It has also invested in a 15,000-square-foot manufacturing research and innovation hub that will be located on campus. The facility will have $2 million in cutting-edge 3-D printing equipment and other tools for researchers.


“The main issue the research team will tackle is gaining a deeper understanding of how mechanical properties — such as stiffness, strength and fatigue life — of additive-manufactured metal structures change as a function of size,” the article explained. “In particular, the project team will be looking at mechanical properties of as-built metal structures — meaning the parts pulled straight out of the printer without any machining or polishing.”


Metal parts produced by additive manufacturing processes can suffer from fatigue, which greatly reduces the lifespan of the parts. Postprocessing techniques to enhance the mechanical properties of the metal parts can be expensive, so ASU researchers will seek out ways to enhance this step.


“The project team will also explore the fundamental reasons for how mechanical properties change during postprocessing techniques, such as hot isostatic pressing,” the article continued. “This thermal processing technique applies high temperature and pressure to rid the metal structure of voids, or little pockets of gas trapped in the part. The team will conduct a controlled study in which some parts will undergo hot isostatic pressing to determine the effectiveness of the technique and how it varies as a function of size.”

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