LPW Technology says that it has created the LPW/Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in ‘Alloy and microstructure design for additive layer manufacturing’ to capitalize on the potential of metal powder for additive manufacturing (AM).

‘Industrialisation of metal additive manufacturing is at the point of delivering vast quantities of data from the complex metallurgical processes involved in creating components through metal AM,’ the company said in a press release. ‘As this technology is poised to disrupt the established techniques for fabricating metal components so collecting data, and simulating new compositions and microstructures, promises to transform the approach to generating novel high-performance alloys for applications in critical industries.’

The post, which is located at Lancaster University in the UK, has been filled by Professor Pedro Rivera, previously assistant director of research, SKF University Technology Centre, Cambridge University where his focus has been on modelling to generate new alloys. He plans to research ways of engineering new materials to harness the power of thermodynamic and kinetic modelling, along with the concept of neural networking and genetic algorithms to design high-performance AM specific alloys.

Design freedom

‘AM offers incredible design freedom to manufacture parts unable to be created by such established methods as forging and casting,’ said Professor Rivera. ‘Conventional alloys used for AM can be extremely sensitive to parameters such as oxygen content where the variation is intrinsic to the AM process. This research will create truly novel metal powders by controlling the microstructures and compositions so critical for high performing AM-specific alloys.’

Plans are to develop statistical models that take account of powder size, composition and atmospheric conditions with component properties such as strength, ductility, hardness and corrosion to develop processing parameters to realize AM on an industrial scale.

’In understanding how metal powder composition can affect the end material microstructure we can begin to design and create parts where the composition across the component varies,’ said Dr Phil Carroll, CEO of LPW. ‘The opportunity to design localized properties in a single part opens up tremendous possibilities. Imagine high temperature aerospace parts where the exterior is hard whilst the interior is lightweight, prosthetic joints delivering surface biocompatibility with low density interiors.’

This story is reprinted from material from LPWwith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.