In-situ monitoring of component integrity during additive manufacturing Using Optical Coherence Tomography

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering


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Guan G (2016) Loose powder detection and surface characterization in selective laser sintering via optical coherence tomography. in Proceedings. Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

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Mitchell-Smith J (2017) Energy distribution modulation by mechanical design for electrochemical jet processing techniques in International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture

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Mitchell-Smith J (2018) Transitory electrochemical masking for precision jet processing techniques in Journal of Manufacturing Processes

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Mitchell-Smith J (2018) Advancing electrochemical jet methods through manipulation of the angle of address in Journal of Materials Processing Technology

Description [2015] A demonstrator strategy for analyzing SLS components via Optical coherence tomography has been established. The team is currently building a system capable of performing in-situ type measurements. Early results indicate that OCT is a viable method although some process improvement in required.

Typical penetration depths achievable in PA12 using a standard OCT approach are 200-300um. This depends upon the efficacy of the sintering process and the condition of the material feedstock.

[2016] This project has developed rapidly over the course of the last year and significant enhancements have been made by the team. For the first time OCT has been used for the detection of subsurface defects including lose powder. The team has also developed image analysis protocols which are capable of differentiating lose powder with solid material using analysis of OCT data.
Exploitation Route [2015] The project is still only in its infancy. Both Guanying Guan and Matthias Hirsch (researchers on this project) are preparing a first research paper which will set the tone for the field. Working with researchers at U of Sehffield it is expected that demonstrator system which makes use of OCT in SLS will be suitable for integrity measurements of 3D printed parts particularly for the biomedical and aerospace sectors.

[2016] The results generated here have been fed into the academic space through key publications relating to the area (doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2016.01.099 AND DOI: 10.1016/j.matdes.2015.09.084). These outcomes are of value for our community and evidence of this is already apparent with notable research activities gearing up in this space in other countries. Interest here has been expressed to the project PI about some of these areas.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Description Findings are now being published in academic journals for this work including a notable publication in materials and design (doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2016.01.099). This has now been picked up upon by academic partners interested in exploiting OCT methodologies for other areas of manufacturing. This includes other researcher in the AM space looking to use this apparatus alongside SRAS (see EP/L022125/1) where the consortia of companies is being used to help develop routes to impact for this project. In addtion Leeds have joined the project and a new dimension has now added to the project in terms of reach into the biomedical sector. UPDATE 3/3/20 - it is clear that reflecting on much of my work in SRAS and process monitoring does relate to this earlier work in OCT and hence I have attributed these publications.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Amount £2,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L022125/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2014 
Description Engagement with RCNDE and Applied optics University of Nottingham 
Organisation University of Kent
Department Applied Optics Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This collaboration builds upon the work undertaken as part of EPSRC project work to move toward RCNDE sponsored work which also involves collaboration with Renishaw.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners are mostly interested in developing hardware.
Impact Multiple - see publications
Start Year 2017