Worldwide research efforts in recent years have largely transformed additive manufacturing from a tool just for rapid prototyping to specialty part production. With additional material and process data, additive manufacturing stands ready to enter full production mode for everyday high volume products. additive manufacturing exhibits unique advantages over traditional cutting and milling techniques, including more efficient use of raw materials, less generation of hazard waste, less consumption of energy, shorter supply chain, reduced time to market, and the fabrication of products with extreme complexities.
Additive manufacturing also offers a new paradigm for engineering design and manufacturing through enabling unique macro-structural design of components, and through enabling micro/nano-structural design of the material.
Measurement and characterization challenges for additive manufacturing are similar for metals, polymers and composite materials. To gain reproducibility of high-quality parts and optimization of material properties industry needs characterization of raw materials; an understanding of how material structure affects product attributes, such as how porosity decreases resistance to fatigue; in-situ real-time analysis of deposition specifications such as temperature, speed, and spacing.
The most accurate analysis of processes and material behaviors comes from 3D high-speed X-imaging and diffraction techniques. These can be combined with computer modeling to create predictive benchmarking of materials and processes as well as machine learning for real-time process control. Argonne has world-leading capabilities in these areas to accelerate industry benchmarking and adoption of additive manufacturing practices.