Characterisation and optimisation of aluminium flow for a new additive manufacturing technology

Additive manufacturing (AM) consists in the fabrication of parts via the gradual addition of matter, most often layer-by-layer. The most common AM processes to build metallic parts use high energy sources such as a laser, an electron beam or a plasma to solidify powder. This allows the manufacturing of complex and personalised geometries; however, the high intensity of those energy sources generates an elevated carbon footprint and results in complex and turbulent melt pool dynamics, which tend to stochastically induce defects such as porosity. A less turbulent and less energy-intensive additive manufacturing technology is currently under development at LMM. Metallic wire is molten through a nozzle in order to produce a small drop of metal bridging the nozzle and the built part, which bonds and solidifies onto the previous manufactured layer, as is now practiced on desktop machines with thermoplastic polymers.

The semester project will focus on producing and exploiting an experimental set-up that produces a simplified version of such a moving metal drop contacting simultaneously two surfaces, with a goal to understand how process parameters influence the flow of aluminium immediately out of the nozzle during the process of writing metal, using high- speed filming and image analysis.

Responsible supervisors: William Le bas and Julie Gheysen
Contact: [email protected] and [email protected]