In the global economy, manufacturing is a central pillar that drives innovation and competition. It’s a fast-growing sector and a vital source of opportunity, which has only increased since metal additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, made its debut. While metal 3D printing is gaining popularity, it still faces many setbacks that prevent wider implementation. For one, it’s expensive and low-volume, and some manufacturers are reluctant to adopt it because scientists are still researching the best materials for use in industrial settings. An improved understanding of the properties of 3D printed parts is the goal of Shiva Rudraraju. With the assistance of the 2018 Grainger Institute for Engineering Faculty Scholar Award, this goal can become a reality.
Rudraraju, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, uses computational modeling, complex math, and high-performance computing to study mechanics and microstructure evolution in various materials. His work will help us better understand how and why 3D printed parts fail, and how new alloy compositions can be manipulated to reduce these undesirable qualities. With applications in energy storage, biological systems, and materials discovery, his research has potential for big impact. By gaining a better understanding of the properties of 3D printed parts—their weaknesses, stability, and microstructure patterns—we can improve 3D printing materials and techniques, and move closer to the goal of making additive manufacturing more accessible and commonplace in modern manufacturing.
Professor Rudraraju says that he’s excited about this research because there is “potential to improve [the] understanding of materials, especially in the context of mesoscale pattern formation (microstructure/morphology) and resulting material properties”. Additionally, Shiva says “an improved understanding of material evolution is critical to the development /enhancement of many fast-evolving areas of engineering like additive manufacturing and design”.
Author: Rhiannon McCarthy