Life cycle assessment of direct liquid metal deposition

Additive manufacturing (AM) consists of the fabrication of parts layer-by-layer or point-by-point. The most common AM processes designed to build metallic parts use high energy sources such as a laser, an electron beam or a plasma, generally to melt and solidify powder. This allows the manufacturing of complex and bespoke geometries; however, the high-power consumption of these energy sources generates an elevated carbon footprint. A less energy-intensive additive manufacturing technology is currently under development at LMM. Metallic wire is fed through a nozzle and melted in order to produce a small pendant drop which bonds and solidifies onto the previous manufactured layer, as is now practiced with thermoplastic polymers in FDM (Fusion Deposition Modelling). An added feature of the method is that it uses a magnetic field to influence the flow and solidification path of the liquid metal.

The goal of this project is to perform a Life Cycle Assessment of this newly developed process and compare it with conventional metal AM methods e.g., Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF). Using established software packages such as SimaPro or OpenLCA, the student will compile all the data required (using the Ecoinvent database, literature and experimental data from the setup) and then evaluate the environmental impact of using DLMD compared with that of using LPBF in order to produce a specific part.

Project supervisors: William Le Bas and Julie Gheysen
Contact: [email protected], [email protected]