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Two separate University of Pittsburgh research projects to improve design development for structures in in additive manufacturing were among nine contracts funded by America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The two 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 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.

Principal investigator for "Integrated Design Tool Development for High Potential AM Applications" is Albert To, PhD , associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, 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. This $961,112 contract is in support of an extension of the research previously awarded to Dr. To by America Makes.

"AM technologies are capable of producing very complex geometries and topologies, tremendously expanding the limited design space allowed by traditional manufacturing methods. However, existing CAD/CAE software packages to date have not taken full advantage of this enormous design freedom," Dr. To explained. "We plan 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."

M. Ravi Shankar, PhD, associate professor of industrial engineering, is principal investigator of "Parametric Design of Functional Support Structures for Metal Alloy Feedstocks." Collaborators on the $805,966 contract include ITAMCO, Johnson & Johnson, and the University of Notre Dame.

"Support structures play two important roles in additive manufacturing - holding a part in place, and dissipating heat during manufacturing. However, these structures are very simple and few rules exist for designing them," Dr. Shankar said. "We want to codify the design rules for support structures used in Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) to inform and then automatically recommend the optimal part orientation and the designs for optimized supports. Also, by better controlling the design, we can more effectively draw away the heat during manufacturing and minimize distortion."

Led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes' Project Call #3 for additive manufacturing (AM) applied research and development projects provided up to $8 million in funding toward these projects with $11 million in matching cost share from the awarded project teams for total funding worth $19 million. The Institute's third project call, which was released in February 2015, was focused on five technical additive manufacturing topic areas-design, material, process, value chain, and genome-each with subset focus areas. Proposals could address one or more technical topic areas, but had to address all evaluation criteria.

For more information, visit: www.americamakes.us/engage/projects

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