The highly dynamic, complex, and short-lived physical phenomena that occur during the 3D-printing process have eluded detection and understanding since the advent of the technology more than three decades ago. Now, however, research conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois is revealing for the first time how microscopic defects arise during the production of 3D-printed metals. The research harnesses the power of the APS, the nation’s leading source of hard (short-wavelength) X-rays, to image the 3D-printing process, also called additive manufacturing. Check out the video:
“We look to expand our capabilities and do research more broadly to understand the additive manufacturing process,” says Aaron Greco, the lead principal investigator for Argonne’s Additive Manufacturing Consortium. “Those capabilities include computer simulation, machine learning, and materials characterization to determine where defects form during additive manufacturing and how to minimize or eliminate those defects.”
Argonne’s first major contribution to the field, in collaboration with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the Missouri University of Science and Technology, was an X-ray analysis published last June in Scientific Reports. The study, led by Tao Sun, a physicist in Argonne’s X-ray Science Division, applied high-speed X-ray imaging and diffraction to observe a commonly used 3D-printing process.