LPW Technology – Robert Williams
It is understood that Metal powder used for Metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) degrades with repeated use. This results in large amounts of waste and re-shipping of materials around the globe, with associated impacts on carbon emissions. Adoption of AM in high end, critical applications like Aerospace is hampered by the high cost of raw materials. A large proportion of this cost can be attributed to powder waste as a poor understanding of degradation leads to excessive scrapping of powder, which has a high embodied CO2 content due to highly energy intensive manufacturing processes. The project will investigate the fundamental mechanisms that lead to powder degradation, evaluate solutions for monitoring the rate of degradation and evaluate end-of-life solutions for powder that is degraded beyond acceptable limits. The aim will be to reduce the environmental impact associated with scrapping powder. A solution which will enable on-site/in-situ monitoring of powder will reduce the carbon footprint created by shipping samples around the world for testing to re-certify used powder.