Qian Wang, associate head for administration in mechanical engineering. (Image courtesy Penn State College of Engineering.)
Qian Wang, associate head for administration in mechanical engineering. (Image courtesy Penn State College of Engineering.)

Researchers at Penn State University have received almost US$547,000 from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to reduce the cost of additive manufacturing (AM) of complex metal parts.

During a three-year project, the researchers plan to develop new models for laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM), a process that is often used to create large and complex parts, such as those used to repair military ships.

‘The overall objective will be to improve the, which will help increase the economic competitiveness of metal additive manufacturing,’ said Qian Wang, associate head of mechanical engineering who is leading the project.

Currently, to ensure part quality and consistency, a finite elements numerical model is used to computationally improve the design. However, this method is time and resource heavy, while also being difficult to adjust in real time, if needed, she said. ‘Through this project, we are trying to find a balance between representing physics as much as possible, while not resorting to overly expensive computation,’ said Wang.

The researchers plan to use Penn State’s center for innovative materials processing through direct digital composition (CIMP-3D) for the testing. ‘By using CIMP-3D, we will have the ability to test the model,’ said Wang. ‘The modeling isn’t enough. You have to demonstrate it on a real, commercial system.’

This story uses material from Penn State, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.