The goal of the Swansea Additive Manufacturing Research group is to understand and develop additive manufacturing processes (specifically powder bed laser fusion) through:

  • Development of novel metal powders
  • Characterisation of mechanical and thermodynamics properties of powders and as-built material
  • Computational simulation of all aspects of the process from gas flow, to powder/laser interaction at the microscale through to residual stress prediction at the macroscale
  • Novel applications with optimised functionality which take advantage of the geometrical freedom of PBLF
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Methods: Computational Engineering, Material Properties, Powder Metallurgy, Additive Manufacturing

Meet the team

Academics: Dr Nicholas P Lavery, Professor Steve G. R. BrownProfessor Johann Sienz

Post-doctoral & post-graduate team: Adam Philo, Stuart Sillars, Steve Milward, Dan Butcher, Ian Cameron, Jordan Rosser, Rhodri Rees, Julian Evans, John Cherry, Mark Holmes, Shahin Mehraban

Case Study 1

Ongoing collaborations with Powder manufacturers Sandvik-Osprey, [10], can be seen highlighted at industrial conferences and trade-fairs such as RAPID, AMPM and EuroPM [10], [17]–[20]. Much of the work over 2016-2018 has focussed on the quality and multiple re-usability of 316L steel and aluminium alloys (Al-Si10 and Al-Si7) in the AM250 and the REN400 machines.

 

Figure 1 - (a) Typical array of bars for tensile tests built in the Renishaw AM250 for the 316L powder studies (b) Sandvik-Osprey 316L steel powder and (c) SEM characterisation of 316L gas atomised powder from Sandvik-Osprey

Case Study 2

Ongoing collaboration over 2018 with end-users such as Thales-Alenia, are resulting in joint case-studies with Renishaw such as that shown Figure 2 which shows an optical spatial bracket for a satellite built from an INVAR material using the Renishaw AM 400 system. INVAR is a binary Iron-Nickel (Fe-36%Ni) with a low coefficient of thermal expansion which is used in satellites to reduce distortion from severe temperature gradients found in space.

 

Figure 2 - (a) Thales-Alenia (France) large 290mm bracket for optical spatial mechanism for a satellite built in the Renishaw AM400 (b) Renishaw RenAM 500M and (c) Renishaw AM 400 systems available at Swansea University.

Case Study 3

An excellent outcome resulting from my support for the SU Race Engineering team is exemplified through a case study of a student designed and built intercooler heat exchanger. The project was supported by Renishaw, who provided professional manufacturability reports at a level usually reserved for their clients, helped with the machine build file and preparation of the final design of the intercooler.

A formal Renishaw case study can be found online: http://www.renishaw.com/en/additive-manufacturing-crosses-the-finishing-line--38971

It is a great endorsement by Renishaw who only select exceptionally novel applications of their technology to be case studies. Renishaw also printed their own copies which they proceeded to showcase at trade fairs and events all around the UK (TCT, NEC Arena) and around the world. This is a significant reflection on both the quality of our students, but also the support they will receive from both the University and important sponsors such as Renishaw.

 

Figure 3 - (a) Inter-cooler designed by Swansea and built in a Renishaw AM250 for the (b) Swansea University Formula Student engine.