To increase the application, reliability and predictability of additive manufacturing, focusing on the additive manufacturing of metals, polymers and ceramics.
This will be done by improving the monitoring and modelling of the additive manufacturing process. This will require the development of new sensing technologies that can be placed in the extreme environments that exist with manufacturing equipment. This will allow feedback loop control to be developed for additive manufacturing. New models will be developed that can predict material properties by the combination of the three key variables to material performance, being material, microstructure and processing and how these three interact and one influences the other. These new models will allow the rapid development of new parts with optimum properties and optimum machine settings.
The application space will be focusing on remote area additive manufacturing where the feedstocks for the processes will be harvested from the environment. The feedstocks could be in the form of broken parts and materials for remanufacture or by the use of in machine refining of feedstocks from the environment, being bio-derived polymers or refining of ores. The second application space that will be targeted will be the manufacture of multi-material devices. The development of multi-material printing will allow the manufacture of devices with inbuilt wiring, sensing, drug delivery and many other functions by the combination of structural and functional materials.