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STTR Phase I: Additive Manufacturing of High Conductivity- High Strength Copper-Based Alloys
Phone: (804) 892-0359
Phone: (804) 892-0359
Contact: Ryan B Wicker
Type: Nonprofit College or University
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase I project is to develop an accessible, rapid, low-cost method to discover and create new high-performance alloys; these alloys could potentially be tailored to specific applications by additive manufacturing. Currently, alloy development and part manufacturing often utilize a "one-size-fits-all" approach allowing for limited alloy customization. In most cases, where new materials are created to increase performance, costs can be prohibitive. Metal additive manufacturing disrupts such conventions, creating opportunities for manufacturing low-volume, niche parts, but still material options remain limited. A new approach could enable a suite of specialized high-performance alloys that directly scales to functional parts, for use by companies of all sizes. This proposal aims to develop the necessary tools and implement this approach to create a new copper-based alloy targeting the injection molding industry to significantly reduce part production times. This Small Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase I project will develop a novel sample evaluation method to discover and create new metal alloys for laser-based additive manufacturing processes. The effort will utilize low-cost, rapid testing techniques to evaluate alloy chemistries on a laboratory scale so that the processing-structure-properties relationships can be determined for direct scale up in an additive manufacturing framework. The chemistry selection will utilize thermodynamic modeling and simulation, low-cost test coupon generation, and a rapid experimental procedure to simulate the thermal history experienced in laser powder bed fusion, allowing for both reduced experimentation timelines and direct feedback into process models for validation and improving accuracy. The method will be validated by creating a novel copper-based alloy with improved strength and thermal conductivity over the current state-of-the-art. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *