Institute for Applied Materials – Materials Science and Engineering

Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM) is characterized, in comparison to conventional manufacturing processes, by the layer-wise build-up of the three-dimensional shape of the component directly from the CAD geometry. Basic materials are metal powder, metal or polymer filaments as well as resins and inks which are consolidated by energy input or chemical cross-linking. The main energy sources used today are laser or electron beams and electrically or inductively heated extrusion heads. Due to the direct production of the component without geometry-bound tools or moulds, additive manufacturing plays a pioneering role, especially in the field of advanced manufacturing. The continuous digitalization and automation of the process chain, the products with high design complexity as well as the possibility of function integration enable additive manufacturing to be used more and more intensively as an innovative technology in various applications.

Due to the layered build-up with a specific exposure or deposition strategy of the base material, additive manufactured components not only have a characteristic microstructure but also process-related defects (pores, voids, cracks). The knowledge of the underlying causes in connection with the process control as well as the effect on component properties and component behaviour is fundamental for the application of additively manufactured structural components. At the same time, the highly localised process zone (e.g. in the melt pool or during filament extrusion) offers the possibility of controlling the microstructure and defect structures in a targeted manner. This requires precise control of the temperature history and the exposure/deposition strategy from the melt pool via the individual layer to the entire component. Due to these complex dependencies in the process-structure-property relationships, especially the reproducibility and testing of additively manufactured components is still a largely open field of research.

We are currently working on the following topics: