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Development of a Selective Laser Melting (SLM) Simulation tool for Aero Engine applications

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Aerospace takes to additive manufacturing

The aerospace industry currently employs extensive experimental campaigns to ensure process stability and part reliability. EU-funded researchers have developed simulation software to optimise additive manufacturing parameters.

Food and Natural Resources

The EU has embarked on an ambitious research and development programme toward Sustainable and Green Engines (SAGE) for tomorrow's aviation. The SAGE 4 is one of five demonstrator engines that is based on advanced geared turbofan technology. SAGE 4 will be used to show the maturity of new technologies for low-weight constructions and materials. EU-funded researchers developed tools to simulate additive manufacturing processes through the project AEROSIM (Development of a selective laser melting (SLM) simulation tool for aero engine applications). The AEROSIM software relies on an integrated finite element model that enables different levels of abstraction and process optimisation. A graphical user interface provides user-friendly visualisation of results without requiring expertise in programming. Researchers collected accurate measurements of thermomechanical parameters to create realistic mappings of nickel-based alloy Inconel718 and titanium alloy Ti6Al4V behaviour during the build process. New meshing algorithms helped overcome difficulties in representing mesh filigree structures or free-formed surfaces. Modelling all melt tracks also imposes an unacceptably high computational load. To overcome this, the AEROSIM team developed new abstraction methods for heat generation of melt tracks. They used detailed simulations of a single melt track to estimate the effective energy input per unit length. AEROSIM software tools offer realistic representations of temperature fields and the overall energy balance. They are expected to significantly increase resource efficiency and decrease the cost of development of the SAGE 4 demonstrator, with important implications for implementation of SLM in the aerospace industry.


Aerospace, additive manufacturing, simulation software, SAGE 4, AEROSIM

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