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NASA Funds New 3D Printing Simulation Technology With A $500,000 Grant

Published on January 5, 2017 by Threedigo


NASA Funds New 3D Printing Simulation Technology With A $500,000 Grant written by: kkll11 NASA awarded a $500,000 grant to a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh collaborating with an engineering software house, Ansys, to develop new simulation technology for metal additive manufacturing.

The goal of this research is to fill an important gap in current metal additive manufacturing technology: the inability to predict material behavior at the microstructural level during the 3D printing process.

The research project is called “Prediction of Microstructure Evolution in DMLM processed Inconel 718 with Part Scale Simulation.” It is one of 13 U.S.-based Early Stage Innovations proposals to receive financial support from the Space Technology Research Grants Program from NASA. The goal of these grants is to help U.S. universities develop promising state-of-the-art technologies that could be useful in the future of NASA’s space exploration.
Metal AM – Seeing it before it happens

Announced in past June, the partnership between Pittsburgh’s Academia and Ansys aims to develop computational tools that will allow businesses to reliably predict and visualize the structural behavior of metal materials during AM before the actual printing occurs.

In addition to the space industry, the ability to synthesize the microstructural behavior of metals during 3D printing is of great interest to other high tech industries that routinely require strict quality control to certify critical components for physically demanding tasks. Engine design or components of mega structures are some of the possible applications of such technology.

Ansys chief technologist, David Conover, highlights the importance of “simulation-based certification” for AM parts, which would drastically streamline quality-oriented AM processes and help many industries get free from their reliance on expensive and time-consuming testing procedures.

Dr. Albert To—director of the ANSYS Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory and associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of Pittsburgh—and assistant professor Wei Xiong head the research project. The team will use NASA’s funds over the course of three years, focusing their research on the nickel superalloy Inconel 718.

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