MRI: Instrument Development: Additive Rapid Prototyping Instrument (ARPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Overview. We propose to build a unique state-of-the-art integrated Additive Rapid Prototyping Instrument (ARPI) for supporting fundamental research, technology development and education in the fields of multi-physics (hybrid) Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes, machines and systems that are aimed at the rapid realization of products epitomized by multi-material structures and multi-scale features. These processes constitute rapidly evolving technologies for advanced product developments in sectors ranging from healthcare to national defense. ARPI is envisioned as a multi-functional modular system composed of three subsystems each of which can operate either in a stand-alone or integrated manner in a common command and control environment. They provide an integrated processing environment, supporting both Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) and Powder Bed Fusion (PBF), i.e., Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Sintering (SLS), types of AM processes in conjunction with secondary parallel or sequential operations that are aimed at enhancing part accuracy, surface finish and local or global material properties and with a real-time process monitoring and control system. In a general sense, ARPI can be viewed as an advanced multi-functional 3D manufacturing platform. Various initiatives are proposed to make this instrument available to other researchers, to encourage participation of woman and under-represented minority students, and to enhance our educational and training activities, including technology transfer. Intellectual Merit. In building ARPI, we integrate various processing energy sources with the technology of ultra-precision computer numerically controlled precision manufacturing and high-speed and high-sensitivity instrumentation. The hardware and software design will allow us to process arbitrary industrial-scale specimens with unprecedented precision and unique processing abilities not previously explored. This will be the first instrument of its kind, thus providing broad opportunities for multidisciplinary research and development of manufacturing processes, methods and equipment. The three subsystems to be initially built will perform novel hybrid forms of AM processes in which additional energy sources are used to enhance the characteristics of the parts beyond what the basic LENS and PBF operations are capable off. The salient feature of the ARPI will be its ability to realize multi-physics, multi-material and multi-scale processes. The dominant scientific and technological challenges to be addressed will be related to the realization of the integrated system and to the understanding and modeling of the hybrid processes and process chains that it performs. The incorporation of instrumentation and sensors to measure the relevant physical process parameters as a function of time and position will be crucial for fundamental investigations of the interactions that take place between the processing energy sources and the workpiece. In addition, the unique modular structure of the APRI will serve as a model for the conception of new manufacturing equipment and systems for AM processes. Broader Impact. The successful development of the ARPI will have several major impacts: (1) It will open up new opportunities for multidisciplinary research among investigators in materials science, mechanical and manufacturing engineering; (2) It will enable the development of a number of novel processing methods with the potential of resulting in a substantial leap over existing capabilities in particular as they relate to integrated hybri
Effective start/end date7/1/146/30/17


  • National Science Foundation (CMMI-1429658)


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