– I am very glad for the funding, this confirms our leading position in modeling of manufacturing processes and we hope to be able to get more projects in the future, says Lars-Erik Lindgren, Chair Professor in Material Mechanics at Luleå University of Technology.
Cooperation with Sandvik
The project is about 3D printing with a focus on both superalloys and amorphous metals. The latter has very unique characteristics that require special alloys together with a rapid cooling rate. Luleå University of Technology and Uppsala University will each be responsible for a node, where Lars-Erik Lindgren's research group will be responsible for the modeling part. AB Sandvik is the major industrial partner in the project, which also includes GKN Aerospace.
3D printing with metal
3D printing presents opportunities for unique geometries where it becomes possible to optimize the weight and strength of the object.
– To be able to model and optimize the production process also requires material modeling. Furthermore, 3D printing poses new challenges on our process models. The technique can be described as having a powder bed over which you move a print head with a beam that melts the powder of selected points. This builds the structure layer by layer, and excess powder is removed afterwards.
– There is a challenge to create metal that can withstand high loads by using 3D printing. Some believe that 3D printing can come to democratize production, so that in the future we will be able to buy a blueprint from a company and print the component or gadget at home, says Lars-Erik Lindgren.
Strengthens Swedish competitiveness
The project is five years and starts January 1, 2016 and Lars-Erik Lindgren is therefore seeking three PhD-students that can begin within short. The investment that the SSF, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, do involves supporting innovative production that can strengthen Swedish competitiveness and help to increase cooperation between academia and industry.
– I believe that an application of our results may be implemented already a few years after the project ends. I do not know what Sandvik's plans are, but I imagine that it is about building up knowledge of a strategic area that can both affect their current business, but also be a brand new business area for them, says Lars-Erik Lindgren.