This Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) project will enable substantially higher accuracy and greater reproducibility in additive manufacturing (AM) processes. In contrast to conventional machining, where parts are made by cutting away unwanted material, additive manufacturing — also called 3D printing — builds three-dimensional objects of unprecedented complexity by progressively adding small amounts of material. Powder bed fusion (PBF), in which new material is added to the part being fabricated by applying and selectively melting a powdered feedstock, is a popular form of AM for fabricating complex metallic or high-performance polymeric parts. This project supports fundamental research to create new thermal modeling, sensing, and control algorithms that will lead to precise and reliable PBF. The resulting machine intelligence will enable to counteract process variations and provide repeatable, low-cost, high-quality parts. AM offers untapped potential in a wide range of products for the energy, aerospace, automotive, healthcare, and biomedical industries. PBF parts are increasingly preferred in applications ranging from advanced jet-engine components to custom-designed medical implants. Therefore, the outcomes of this project will facilitate fabrication of products to benefit the US economy and improve quality of life.
Prof. Xu Chen receives prestigious NSF CAREER Award.