Additive manufacturing (AM) technology has a promising list of potential benefits for low to medium volume manufacture. However, AM is in the process of transitioning from its rapid prototyping past into a technology that can be used to produce parts for high performance and safety critical applications. We are addressing this by developing a detailed scientific understanding of the processes and materials produced and embedding this knowledge into predictive modelling and simulation tools.
Understanding process-microstructure-performance relationships are critical for components in demanding service environments and loading conditions. Typical defects and microstructures of Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) 316L stainless steel are shown in the figure below.
Monitoring process conditions during manufacturing is fundamental to verifying and certifying the quality of parts produced. The video below shows a high-speed melt pool temperature measurement system developed here at Imperial to understand conditions in the melt pool and monitor those conditions throughout the build.
The video below shows a layer-wise temperature monitoring system to understand how the temperature of the surface layer changes throughout a build.
In parallel with developing improved understanding and monitoring techniques of build processes is the development simulation tools to aid understanding and provide a predictive capability. The integrated experimental and simulation approach is shown in the figure below along with a simulation to predict temperature gradients and residual stress in LPBF parts.
High-strain rate material behaviour
- Arup Resilience, Security & Risk
- Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI)
- Office of Naval Research (ONR)