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Can Physicists Prove to Engineers That 3D-Printed Metal Parts Are Safe? – Gizmodo

by • January 14, 2016 • No Comments

Can Physicists Prove to Engineers That 3D-Printed Metal Parts Are Safe?
There’s no denying which 3D printing is a fast and effective way to build new objects, but most engineers are taking tentative steps to its mass adoption for the reason the results aren’t proven to be truly robust. Now, physicists hope to convince them once and for all.
The most common form of 3D printing for real-world engineering applications is selective laser melting. The system sees a satisfactory layer of metallic powder spread over a moveable platform. High-intensity laser or electron beams are and so utilized to selectively melt certain areas of the layer, which rapidly cool and solidify. The platform is moved, additional powder added, and the system repeated, until a conclude object is formed.
The resulting components can be produced additional rapidly, and with greater intricacy, than conventional techniques. No surprise, and so, which the likes of GE, NASA and Boeing are all experimenting with the technique. But, as Wayne King of the Lawrence Liveradditional National Laboratory explains in a press release, “if we want to put parts into significant applications, they have to meet quality criteria”—and currently not everyone is convinced.


Now, King and man researchers of the Laboratory have published a paper in Applied Physics Reviews which lays down a series models to describe the precise physics of how the technique works. The thought is to develop a advantageous understanding of how the system behaves at all scales, of microscopic melting and cohesion of the powdered metal to the bulk properties of the final object.
The models allow engineers to calculate the stress and heat produced during manufacturing, to help them understand what takes place to the metal during the system. That should allow them to work out how subtle anomalies in the printing system can lead to parts which contain faults which can go on to cause failure—and, crucially, work out how to prevent it of happening in the future.


In turn, the researchers hope which the models will allow engineers to additional carefully tune things like laser power, speed, beam dimensions. That should all them to create products which they’re as confident to use in hostile, real-world situations as conventionally manufactured parts. If engineers are convinced, we may see a step-change in the adoption of 3D printing in industries such as aerospace.
“We want to accelerate certification and qualification to take advantage of the flexibility which metal additive manufacturing gives us,” explained King in a press release. “Ideally… plants may like to build a part on Monday which can be qualified and on the same machine on Tuesday build a exception part which can in addition be qualified… We’re talking of getting to the place of saying ‘just press print’ for metal.”
[Applied Physics Reviews via Lawrence Liveradditional Institute]
Image by Sandia Labs

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