Additive Manufacture of graded microstructures for aeroengine components

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Metallurgy and Materials


Additive manufacture (AM) of graded microstructures for military aeroengine components Selective laser melting, a metal 3D printing process, involves the use of a laser to melt 2D layers of a 3D shape to build a structure from the bottom-upwards in a layered fashion. It has been previously used to manufacture various structures used in the defence sector (e.g. aeroengines, missile structures, and armour). A program of detailed research is required to understand the utility of selective laser melting in the manufacturing of tailored microstructures through controlling the process parameters, in order to eventually control the mechanical properties and performance.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512436/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
1943541 Studentship EP/R512436/1 01/10/2017 08/10/2020 Bonnie Attard
Description Using additive manufacturing specifcally the powder bed fusion technique, we were able to manufacture dense structure with varying microstructures. This was achieved by changing certain laser parameters in order to affect the cooling rates of the parts. Mechanical properties of parts such as the ductility, strength, hardness and life to rupture at elevated temperatures are affected by the internal crystal structure (microstructure) of the material. By demonstrating that this can be changed the mechanical properties acan be modified.
Exploitation Route This fundamental results of this research can be applied in many other fields for instance in magnetic materials whose properties are highly dependant on the crystal structure of the material or materials used in electronics which are also highly dependent on the material crystal structure. The next steps for the project itself could be to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to determine the ideal microstructures for different application scenarios depending on the conditions required and from there on optimize components or specific areas of components for performance.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Description Modelling 
Organisation ESI Group
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Partner is involved in the modelling aspect of the project to model the heat flow of the different graded conditions.
Collaborator Contribution They have succesfully modelled different grain growth scenarios for the project using different laser scanning strategies.
Impact Outputs are still ongoing - we are working together on publishing the research.
Start Year 2017