Work Begins on U.S. Air Force Research Into Flaw Formation in Powder Bed Fusion Processes

An example of a stochastic flaw observed in Ti-6Al-4V Powder Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing builds after hot isostatic processing. (credit: PSU Applied Research Laboratory)

An example of a stochastic flaw observed in Ti-6Al-4V Powder Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing builds after hot isostatic processing. (credit: PSU Applied Research Laboratory)

November 19, 2018 | Source: TCT Magazine, tctmagazine.com, Sam Davies, 14 June 2018

Work has begun on a $1.4 million project under the Maturation of Advanced Manufacturing for Low-Cost Sustainment (MAMLS) program funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) through America Makes.

The project, which was announced at the 2018 RAPID + TCT event in Fort Worth, TX, commenced on June 13th. It will see a team led by the Applied Research Lab at Penn State, in collaboration with the Center for Innovative Processing thru Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D), conduct an investigation into flaw formation during powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM). They will also consider the impact of flaws on fatigue life.

Users and developers of powder bed fusion processes will know all too well the potential for random flaws to disrupt prints and harmfully impact the resulting parts. These flaws, including lack of fusion defects and powder contamination, can degrade fatigue life and contribute to the reluctance in some quarters for AM technologies to be adopted.

Working with the likes of 3D Systems, Moog, Oerlikon and United Technologies Research Center, Penn State and CIMP-3D will aim to better understand the formation of these flaws and their impacts. They will employ high-resolution computerized tomography (CT) scans and fractographic analysis on pedigreed Ti-6AI-4V fatigue samples in order to quantify the impact flaws can have, while high speed videos and advanced process sensors will be supplemented by process models so the team can gain a better insight into the reasons why these flaws happen.


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America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3D printing (3DP) technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. Structured as a public-private partnership, we innovate and accelerate AM/3DP to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness.

America Makes previous (proposal submission ended Feburary 2018) project call announcement for Maturation of Advanced Manufacturing for Low-Cost Sustainment (MAMLS) Phase 3 and PDF.

PSU Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) is an integral part of the University and was established in 1945 at the request of the U.S. Navy. Originally focused on undersea weapons technology development, ARL now includes a broad research portfolio addressing the needs of various sponsors. As a Department of Defense (DoD) designated University Affiliated Research Center (UARC), ARL conducts essential research, development, and systems engineering in support of our nation's priorities free from conflict of interest or competition with industry.

PSU ARL article:  Penn State to Lead $1.4M Grant to Probe Flaws in Metal Additive Manufacturing.

RAPID + TCT May 2019 event for discovery, innovation, and networking in 3D manufacturing.

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