America Makes officials announced five awardees of its Directed Project Opportunity for Advanced Tools for Rapid Qualification (ATRQ) funded by the Department of Defense (DOD), Office of the Secretary of Defense, Manufacturing, and Industrial Base Policy Office (OSD/MIBP) through the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The ATRQ Directed Project Opportunity seeks to promote and accelerate the development and deployment of innovative, cost effective, and energy-efficient AM technologies with the objective of meeting defense and/or commercial needs.
Part of the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes and OSD/AFRL are targeting to make available approximately $3.9 million to fund multiple awards with at least $1.95 million in matching funds from the awarded project teams for total funding worth roughly $5.9 million.
Subject to the finalization of all contractual details and requirements, the selected America Makes ATRQ Directed Project Opportunity Awardees are:
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp.
Led by Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. with the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), this project team seeks to better understand the corrosion mechanisms of laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) manufactured components using the aluminum powder alloy, AlSi10Mg. Current LPBF alloys like AlSi10Mg exhibit corrosion behavior, unique to AM, which is dependent on manufacturing artifacts, such as roughness, surface porosity, the presence of protective films, and process melt pool solidification dynamics. This unique corrosion behavior is not yet well understood and creates a roadblock to DOD adoption of LPBF parts for mission-critical defense systems in potentially corrosive environments. Part families of interest include liquid cold plates, heat exchangers, and external aircraft components across sustainment support programs. Using these part families as a basis of research, the goal of this project is to develop corrosion-specific process guidelines for LPBF AlSi10Mg that will relate material, process, post-process, and environment to corrosion behavior.
Wichita State University – National Institute for Aviation Research
Led by Wichita State University (WSU) – National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), in conjunction with Auburn University, EWI, Rapid Prototype + Manufacturing LLC. (rp+m), and the ASTM AM Center of Excellence (CoE), a collaborative, which includes ASTM International, Auburn University, EWI, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), WSU–NIAR, this project team seeks to overcome the performance limitations and degradation of AM polymer materials when subjected to demanding, harsh environments detected in-theater and in-service, preventing the wider adoption of AM. In order to address the service life of AM as it relates to quantifying service life of additively manufactured (SLAM) polymer parts, the development and delivery of a manufacturing framework is required. To date the vision of AM to achieve per-layer certification coupled with process simulation ad virtual allowables that eliminate nearly all physical testing remains just beyond reach. Specifically, the SLAM project will build on previous learnings, documentation, and methodologies to create a set of qualification tools that will enable a leapfrog for future sets of multiple materials, including UTLEM 9085, and processes, enabling AM to be fully utilized today as part of the path to realizing the per-layer goal and ultimately, achieving AM parts with less limitations and degradations.
3D Systems Corp.
Led by 3D Systems Corp., in conjunction with Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), the University of Akron, and Northrup Grumman Innovation Services (NGIS), this project team seeks to develop a corrosion performance design guide for additively manufactured Nickel-base alloy 625 in an effort to minimize saltwater corrosion of components made from this superalloy in DOD weapon systems, especially in U.S. Navy ship components, ranging from naval seawater cooling channels to heat exchangers and valves. Additionally, high-speed ground-, sea-, and air-launched munition parts may become prone to corrosion when stored in or near marine environments. As efforts to integrate metal AM into these supply chains accelerate, the industrial base must discern susceptibility of AM parts to corrosion and related effects of post-processing. This understanding will form the basis of a design guide that will optimize manufacturing processes that not only limits corrosion, but also considers the corrosion in component design and production.
The Ohio State University
Led by The Ohio State University, in conjunction with Rolls-Royce Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Proto Precision Additive, and BlueQuartz Software LLC, this project team seeks to develop an understanding and the tools to overcome the qualification hurdles related to formation of AM manufacturing defects, specifically those from LPBF, and their effect on performance. In order to develop the fundamental understanding of effects of defects (EOD), it is necessary to be able to generate representative defects in a controlled manner, allowing for quantitative studies of their debit on material properties and their ensuing probability of detection (POD). This project team intends to develop methodologies for generating multiple classes of these controlled representative defects in relevant component geometries through the delivery of a technical data package and a software toolset.
The Pennsylvania State University – Applied Research LaboratoryLed by The Pennsylvania State University, through its Applied Research Laboratory (ARL Penn State), in conjunction 3D Systems Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., and Applied Optimization Inc., this project team seeks to develop and demonstrate methods for the generation and characterization of defects representative of those formed during LPBF of the titanium alloy, Ti-6Al-4V. Specifically, this project will target the reproduction of surrogate defects that are formed during processing through anomalous interactions and process variations. Such defects, including lack-of-fusion and spherical porosity, have been observed during LPBF and are considered likely to lead to degradation in properties and performance of otherwise high-quality, dense components. By demonstrating reliable generation of specific flaw morphologies (e.g. size, shape, orientation, etc.) at intended locations, a framework for qualification of AM designs, processes, and components will provide the necessary tools to revolutionize the understanding of the impact of defects in LPBF. It will also enable controlled and systematic evaluation of material performance as a function of defect characteristics and the creation of reliable, model-based guidance on appropriate limits for defect morphology and locations within components.
“These five project teams outlined what we believe are the best approaches to identifying and solving the corrosion induced defects and failures of LPBF manufactured parts, as well as the overall degradation of AM components due to harsh environments,” said John Wilczynski, America Makes Technology Director. “The impact of these projects will certainly increase the collective knowledge in understanding the root causes of the defects, failures, and degradation of parts and thus, significantly improving the designs of components and further innovating the processes used to make them.”
The anticipated start date of the projects is June 2019.