Research Areas

  1. Development of Novel Alloys for AM

    In the development of novel alloys research, specifically in the area of super alloys and bulk the forming mechanism of these alloys will be studied in order to facilitate the optimisation of the Additive Manufacturing process. This is important for obtaining excellent part qualities, such as geometrical accuracies and relative part densities. The microctructures will be characterised and resultant mechanical properties evaluated. In this research, phase diagram will be developed for these alloys to facilitate the design of alloy composition.

  2. AM technology Innovation

    In this research, the focus is put on:
    • Hybrid manufacturing
      In hybrid manufacturing, a component will be produced with a combination of conventional manufacturing techniques such as casting and milling followed by AM. This results in a highly cost effective methodology for producing parts with specific complex configurations
    • Large format manufacturing
      In large format AM, the emphasis is placed on understanding the amplified thermal stresses involved and controlling/optimising the process parameters in order to still obtain parts with excellent quality as traditional small format AM
    • Derivation of heat treatment procedures for metal AM parts
      AM metal components exhibit different microstructural features from that of conventionally produced parts. As such, conventional heat treatment procedures are not suitable for AM parts and hence, there is a to develop new procedures. In this research area, the purpose of different heat treatment phases will be studied, adopted and customised to be applied onto AM parts

  3. Database Development for AM Metal Parts

    This research focuses on the development of:
    • A directory of producible design architectures for AM parts
      This directory aims to educate and help design engineers understand the metal AM process limitations and what are the present restrictions. This directory will also help design engineers overcome as well as avoid certain design constraints
    • Support Structure Generation and Part Orientation
      Certain geometrical restrictions can be overcome or eliminated with the help of generating appropriate support structures at areas with substantial overhanging features. Ideal support structures as well as practising optimal part orientation help to reduce thermal stresses and warpages. This database will be developed to help users identify the type of designs that require such attention as well as recommend users the appropriate support structures and orientating the part during the AM process

  4. Non Metal AM Technologies

    This research focuses on the development of:
    • High Performance Polymer
      The polyaryletherketone (PAEK) family of materials includes a variety of polymers such as polyetherketone, polyetheretherketone, and polyetherketoneketone. Compared to common polyamides, they have a higher melting temperature, a higher glass transition temperature, a higher specific heat and a lower thermal expansion. Because of these known inherent properties, they present a lower risk for developments for aircraft applications. As such, polymers with high melting temperature and other satisfying characteristics such as chemical resistance, mechanical performance and low cost are extremely attractive for the aerospace industry
    • Ceramics
      In traditional industry, ceramics has been used as casting molds due to its superior refractory properties. More recently, it has also been exploited for its tribological and magneto-electrical properties. Advanced engineering ceramics are used as thermal insulation tiles on the Space Shuttle, nuclear fuel pellets, mechanical bearings, coatings for turbine blades of jet engines and biomedical implants. Currently, Silica, Alumina and Zirconia are looked into
    • Photopolymer Resins
      Poly(glycolic acid), ploy(lactic acid), polycaprolactone and their various synthetic derivatives are biocompatible and biodegradable polymers that can be conveniently processed by current AM systems. One area that is currently of interest is developing liquid resins with different colours and printing multi materials within a single AM process. Another focus lies in developing liquid resin/ceramic mixture for biomedical applications
    • Food Printing
      Current research in this area lies in developing a fully automated 3D chocolate printer with a delivery system that can maintain the chocolate's viscosity and tempering temperature. Future research will look into artificial printing of proteins that resemble that of meat
    • Bioprinting
      This area of research is currently looking at direct printing of cells as well as producing biodegradable scaffolds for tissue engineering. AM is ideal for printing micro scale scaffolds that incorporate essential channels required for the transport of nutrients for the cells to proliferate