Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is a method of creating complex 3D objects from computer models, through the sequential deposition of material layer-by-layer. The application of the technology is now commonly used in applications including aerospace, medical and motorsports, however now there has been increased interest in its use in the energy field. In the ESE group, research has investigated the use of direct metal laser sintering to create components such as flow field plates in PEM fuel cells or reactors for metal-hydride based solid-state hydrogen storage, as well as the development of novel additive manufacturing techniques such as electrochemical additive manufacturing.

Our paper featured as a cover page in Advanced Materials Technologies

cover Adv. Mat. Tech. Manufacture
Our paper on a low cost desktop electrochemical metal 3D printer was featured as a cover page in Advanced Materials Technologies.
Xiaolong Chen, Xinhua Liu, Peter Childs, Nigel Brandon and Billy Wu, 2017, A low cost desktop electrochemical metal 3D printer, Advanced Materials Technologies. Volume 2, Issue 10.

Additive manufacturing (AM) is the process of creating 3D objects from digital models through the sequential deposition of material in layers. Electrochemical 3D printing is a relatively new form of AM that creates metallic structures through electrochemical reduction of metal ions from solutions onto conductive substrates. The advantage of this process is that a wide range of materials and alloys can be deposited under ambient conditions without thermal damage and more importantly at low cost, as this does not require expensive laser optics or inert gas environments. Here, a novel electrochemical 3D printer design is proposed using a meniscus confinement approach which demonstrates deposition rates three orders of magnitude higher than equivalent systems due to improved mass transport characteristics afforded through a mechanical electrolyte entrainment mechanism. 

IMSE Briefing paper No 2: The value of additive manufacturing


Briefing paper 2 ManufactureThe value of additive manufacturing: future opportunities, Briefing Paper No2, Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering, Billy Wu, Connor Myant and Shoshana Z. Weider, 2017

This paper presents an overview of the potential economic, technical and environmental benefits of additive manufacturing (AM) – 3D printing – as well as the current hurdles that need to be overcome to realise a more-effective and more-profitable industry. To overcome current hurdles in the AM process chain – and ultimately to create a more-effective and more-profitable industry – ‘game-changing’ materials, design methodologies, printing technologies and software are required.