Design and development of a layer-based additive manufacturing process for the realization of metal parts of designed mesostructure
Williams, Christopher Bryant
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Low-density cellular materials, metallic bodies with gaseous voids, are a unique class of materials that are characterized by their high strength, low mass, good energy absorption characteristics, and good thermal and acoustic insulation properties. In an effort to take advantage of this entire suite of positive mechanical traits, designers are tailoring the cellular mesostructure for multiple design objectives. Unfortunately, existing cellular material manufacturing technologies limit the design space as they are limited to certain part mesostructure, material type, and macrostructure. The opportunity that exists to improve the design of existing products, and the ability to reap the benefits of cellular materials in new applications is the driving force behind this research. As such, the primary research goal of this work is to design, embody, and analyze a manufacturing process that provides a designer the ability to specify the material type, material composition, void morphology, and mesostructure topology for any conceivable part geometry. The accomplishment of this goal is achieved in three phases of research: Design Following a systematic design process and a rigorous selection exercise, a layer-based additive manufacturing process is designed that is capable of meeting the unique requirements of fabricating cellular material geometry. Specifically, metal parts of designed mesostructure are fabricated via three-dimensional printing of metal oxide ceramic powder followed by post-processing in a reducing atmosphere. Embodiment The primary research hypothesis is verified through the use of the designed manufacturing process chain to successfully realize metal parts of designed mesostructure. Modeling & Evaluation The designed manufacturing process is modeled in this final research phase so as to increase understanding of experimental results and to establish a foundation for future analytical modeling research. In addition to an analysis of the physics of primitive creation and an investigation of failure modes during the layered fabrication of thin trusses, build time and cost models are presented in order to verify claims of the process s economic benefits. The main contribution of this research is the embodiment of a novel manner for realizing metal parts of designed mesostructure.