The Royal Academy of Engineering today announced ten years of support for Professor Peter Lee (based in the Research Complex at Harwell) from UCL Mechanical Engineering as a world leader in applying synchrotron imaging to help develop more efficient, environmentally friendly and cost effective additive manufacturing technologies.
One of the fastest growing emerging technologies, additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing, enables the direct production of complex shapes from digital designs in materials, from polymers to aerospace alloys.
Professor Lee will use the advanced imaging capability of Diamond Light Source, the UK’s synchrotron, to help develop tomorrow’s improved, cost effective AM technologies. Using ultrafast x-ray imaging and diffraction, the project will include the creation of AM machines that can see inside the printing process to capture key phenomena. These insights will be used to accelerate the development of new materials, design rules, AI control algorithms and multi-scale predictive models, while removing expensive trial-and-error development in 3D printing.
On receiving the award, Professor Lee, said:
“Additive manufacturing promises to be a truly enabling technology. It will allows us to make personalised products that are digitally designed and electronically delivered. These designs can then be fabricated on the other side of the world to help tackle a range of challenges, from alleviating drought to solving medical emergencies.
“The new insights gained from our project will help to make metal AM a more reliable and affordable technology for the production of components, with applications in a wide variety of fields, from aerospace to biomedical. This will place the UK at the heart of this key underpinning technology, enabling manufacturing in a truly digital environment from concept to final component, as well as personalised production, while reducing resource consumption.”