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A lot of effort has been going into determining the cause of flaws and defects in metal 3D printing, which can lead to weaknesses like spattering and micro cracking in the final 3D printed parts. Collaboration is key when conducting this kind of important work, and often, multiple research institutions and universities will work together to find the answers.

With this in mind, a partnership to study and advance metal 3D printing has formed between scientists from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney and several other universities in both Australia and the US. The collaboration just received a $3 million government grant.

The grant was awarded for an additive manufacturing initiative, which is being led by the University of Sydney, that plans to overhaul the factories of the future. The Honorable Christopher Pyne MP, Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry, was the one to announce the project, and said that it would help to facilitate the country’s role in the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), which is being administered by the US Department of Defense.

The potential exists for a further two-year renewal phase of the initiative if all goes well.

UNSW Science’s Dr. Sophie Primig [Image: UNSW]

Dr. Sophie Primig, the project’s UNSW lead and a Senior Lecturer and ARC DECRA Fellow in the UNSW School of Materials Science & Engineering, said, “Something very exciting is happening in the world of manufacturing.

“From defence to construction to all manner of transportation platforms, 3D printing is emerging as a profound disruption. It has created new scientific frontiers in physical metallurgy and new technological opportunities for manufacturers.”

The academic institutions from the US participating in the collaborative metal 3D printing research project include the University of Tennessee-Knoxville; the University of California, Santa Barbara; the Colorado School of Mines; Iowa State University; Ohio State University; and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. UNSW was one out of four universities from Australia that was chosen to work under MURI and conduct joint research with US universities on important defense projects.

[Image: EOS]

“Advanced 3D printing is incredibly complex. We know how complex welding is,” Dr. Primig said. “Now think of thousands of highly localised welding passes and the superposition of all of those thermal and stress cycles.

“This support from the Australian government coupled with our local and global collaborations enables UNSW Sydney to contribute to a renaissance in Australian manufacturing capability.”

Together with her fellow researchers, Dr. Primig will use the $3 million grant to research the potential possibilities for new materials technologies, as well as “tackle the new fundamental materials science of how additive manufacturing works.”

But this metal 3D printing research is not all that UNSW is working on for the DoD. In a separate MURI project, the university is also collaborating with Griffith University, the University of Technology Sydney, Duke University, the University of Oregon, and MIT on integrated quantum sensing and control for high fidelity qubit operations.

The Hon Christopher Pyne MP

In a statement, Minister Pyne congratulated the four Australian universities, saying, “As these universities were chosen from a pool of over 400 proposals, this is a great outcome, one which shows that Australian researchers are world class.

“Research in this area will enhance the manoeuvrability of people and autonomous platforms in environments where traditional navigation systems are ineffective.”

Discuss metal 3D printing, partnerships, and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

[Source: UNSW]
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