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Additive Manufacturing


Image courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

The interdisciplinary Additive Manufacturing (AM) research performed at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory is aimed at creating very complex components of arbitrary shape and design that are otherwise difficult or impossible to achieve via traditional manufacturing methods such as casting and machining.

Additive manufacturing technology involves building three-dimensional objects by adding material layer-upon-layer under computer control. The AM research at ORNL spans across small- and large-scale production of components using plastics, polymers, metals and ceramics as stock material.

Bredesen Center students who focus on additive manufacturing explore the broad range of additive manufacturing techniques and search out solutions to both scientific and policy issues ranging from understanding material properties, automation and closed-loop control of the manufacturing process, overall life-cycle cost, and risks of failure of the manufactured part.

Students conduct research to identify and carry out required improvement to achieve full functionality of additively manufactured components and are continually improving the reliability of the various additive manufacturing techniques. They work to ensure that prototypes fabricated are very similar to the finished component in terms of form and fit, and has the functional requirements for field testing and full commercial use.

Their work will ultimately help the industry adopt new manufacturing technologies to reduce life-cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions, reduce stock material waste, lower production cost, and create new products for the aerospace, automotive and defense industries, among others.

In metal additive manufacturing, microstructure control through tool path design, alloy design, optimization of scan strategies, computational modeling, in-situ monitoring (thermal imaging) and design optimization are few of the research avenues currently being explored. Additive manufacturing is a data rich technology and recently, there is a big push in terms of data analytics and machine learning for additive manufacturing. Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at ORNL is one of the leading additive manufacturing research labs in the world.

Altogether, Bredesen Center students who engage in AM research are revolutionizing the way products are designed and built using additive manufacturing technology, and redefining the future of manufacturing, energy science, technology, and policy.

For more information on specific dissertation projects visit our page highlighting the Bredesen Center Graduate Students and their research projects.

 Adeola Adediran and Naren Raghavan are PhD candidates pursuing the energy Science and Engineering PhD. Please visit their individual biographies for more information about their work in this area.