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Research Highlight

Tailoring component performance by combining 3D printing, casting

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers modified the shape and density of 3D-printed lattice structures to achieve desired material properties in metal composites.


A new manufacturing method created by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Rice University combines 3D printing with traditional casting to produce damage-tolerant components composed of multiple materials. Composite components made by pouring an aluminum alloy over a printed steel lattice showed an order of magnitude greater damage tolerance than aluminum alone. The process, published in Materials and Design, was developed for potential automotive and other applications where thermal and mechanical properties must be optimized simultaneously. “This scalable processing strategy can be used to fulfill specific component functions, giving materials designers unprecedented control over both microstructure and material properties,” said ORNL’s Amit Shyam.