Pitt engineers’ AM research groups receive more than $1.7M funding

JPAUniversity of Pittsburgh’s two separate research projects, directed by faculty in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, will receive more than $1.7 million in America Makes’ Project Call #3 to improve design development for structures in AM.

Albert To, PhD, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, is the principal investigator for ‘Integrated Design Tool Development for High Potential AM Applications’ in conjunction with Aerotech, ANSYS, EOS of North America, ExOne, Honeywell, Marcus Machinery, Materials Sciences Corporation, RTI International Metals (Alcoa Titanium & Engineered Products), United Technologies Research Center, and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center. The $961,112 contract is in support of an extension of the research previously awarded to Dr. To by America Makes.

According to Dr. To, the existing CAD/CAE software packages have not taken full advantage from the enormous design freedom that 3D printing offers. Hence the project aims to create an integrated design suite that can be rapidly commercialized, thereby helping industry minimize design time, lower manufacturing cost, and reduce time to market for new AM product development.

Ravi ShankarRavi Shankar, PhD, associate professor of Industrial Engineering, is the principal investigator for ‘Parametric Design of Functional Support Structures for Metal Alloy Feedstocks’. Collaborators on this $805,966 contract are ITAMCO, Johnson & Johnson, and the University of Notre Dame.

Dr Shankar says that the project is to codify the design rules for support structures used in Direct Metal Laser Sintering to inform and then automatically recommend the optimal part orientation and the designs for optimized supports. Also, by better controlling the design the heat during manufacturing can be effectively drawn away and distortion can be minimized.

To date, Swanson School faculty have been awarded more than $2.3 million in contracts toward additive manufacturing research from America Makes, the National Science Foundation, and Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania.