The objective of this Directed Project Opportunity is to conduct applied research projects to demonstrate the use of laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM) processes for fabricating heat exchangers for propulsion applications, to include the design, inspection, and evaluation of performance. Additionally, each of the technical tasks are to be performed on materials that have been demonstrated as viable materials for use with the specific AM process proposed, including one of the three classes of metallic materials: Nickel-based alloys, Aluminum alloys, and Titanium alloys.
Subject to the finalization of all contractual details and requirements, the two selected America Makes Directed Project Opportunity Awardees are as follows:
Awardee #2: United Technologies Research Center
Led by United Technologies Research Center, in partnership with other United Technologies Corporation business units, United Technologies Aerospace Systems and Pratt & Whitney, and with Stratonics, 3DSIM, and the University of Connecticut, this project team seeks to rapidly advance the Manufacturing Readiness Level of Laser Powder Bed Fusion HEX components in propulsion applications. The goal of this project is to address the fundamental risks/gaps in AM processes, including in-situ defect detection, non-destructive inspection, and thin-fin manufacturing capability; establish a quantitative link between key product characteristics and the manufacturing process parameters required for repeatable and reliable fabrication; and demonstrate an AM HEX and value proposition relevant to the Department of Defense and AFRL.
“Going into this Directed Project Opportunity, we anticipated proposal submissions that showcased strong member teaming and explored how to prove and demonstrate higher-performing and lower-cost conformal HEXs, including the identification of any lead-time improvements and potentially allowing higher specific performance,” said John Wilczynski, America Makes Deputy Director of Technology Development. “The America Makes member community did not disappoint. AM offers the HEX field design freedoms that are simply not possible using traditional manufacturing process. The teaming by America Makes members that possess substantial experience in the HEX field is outstanding. As a result, both AFRL and the defense industry are poised to benefit greatly from these directed projects.”
The anticipated start date of the Directed Projects is Summer 2015.