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Analysis, Design, And Manufacturing using Microstructures

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ADAM^2 (Analysis, Design, And Manufacturing using Microstructures)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2022-07-01 do 2023-12-31

The evolution of new manufacturing technologies such as multi-material 3D printers gives rise to new types of objects that may consist of considerably less, yet heterogeneous, material, consequently being porous, lighter and cheaper, while having the very same functionality as the original object when manufactured from one single solid material. We aim at a unified manufacturing pipeline that will focus on all stages involving Analysis, Design, and Manufacturing using Microstructures (ADAM^2). That is, we look at volumetric (possibly heterogeneous) microstructural paving of free-form objects, followed by structural analysis and shape optimization and highly accurate manufacturing, both additive and subtractive, finalized by inspection and industrial validation work package.

The contribution of ADAM^2 to society lies in a new generation of porous (aka microstructured) objects that require less material, yet perform similarly to their solid counterparts. We have demonstrated, via several industrial test cases at the proof-of-concept level (TRL-3), that microstructured objects may serve as i) internal components of a tire that enables the vehicle to move in the situation when the tire is pierced, ii) as interior parts of a coordinate measuring machine, and help to guarantee a highly accurate and stable measurements under varying measuring conditions, or iii) as parts of a blade integrated disk, an aeroengine component, that needs to sustain a certain centrifugal force, yet using a reduced amount of material, making the whole engine, and consequently aircraft, lighter.
In the whole project (M1-M48), four technical work packages (WP) were involved with the following research and technological activities.

In WP1, we designed a computational framework for microstructural representation of curved (aka freeform) geometries based on volumetric representations (V-Rep) that are compatible with the state-of-the-art boundary representation (B-rep). In particular, we investigated a specific truss lattice construction arising from spherical packing, we analyzed microtiling of trimmed trivariates, explored geometrical strategies to generate irregular auxetic structures and/or looked at efficient computation of Hausdorff distance between two free-form objects.

In WP2, we dealt with structural analysis of a microstructured pattern using an iso-geometric framework using the input of WP1. In particular, we developed a fast solver that exploits the similarities among lattices to perform simulations of large microstructures geometries with a very low computational burden. We studied shape optimization of the internal microstructure by considering various (basis) microtiles and used thickness distribution for their optimization.

In WP3, we considered problems of highly accurate surface finish using 5-axis CNC machining. In particular, we considered higher order contact between a conical milling tool and a free-form surface, and for special target geometries, such as spiral bevel gears and/or screw rotors, we considered milling with two sides of the milling tool (aka double-flank milling) using a specifically designed custom-shaped tool. We also considered a hybrid manufacturing of aeronautic components, such as blade integrated disks, whose internal microstructure was 3D printed and the final surface finish was completed by 5-axis CNC machining.

In WP4, we applied the full workflow designed in WP1, WP2, and WP3 to several test cases. We implemented numerical tools in Hutchinson’s in-house code Numea and successfully applied the methods to a representative product in a way that cannot be achieved with conventional tools. The turbine blade test case demonstrated not only the design and simulation possibility but also the manufacturing and control possibility of the thin metallic microstructure showing the industrial possibility offered by ADAM^2 outcomes.

Overall, we submitted 48 conference and/or journal papers, from which, up to date, 46 are published, and the remaining two are under review. The published papers appeared in top journals such as Transactions of Computer Graphics, Computer Graphics Forum, Computer-Aided Design, Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, Computational Mechanics, or Precision Engineering. We delivered more than 35 technical presentations (24 conference presentations and 11 research visits) at top events such as SIGGRAPH, EUROGRAPHICS, ECCOMAS, or SPM, and presented our results on several industrial fairs such as BIENH, ECO, or CONTROL. We also published an article in a science-popularizing journal Research OUTREACH.
We filled a patent application on a specific microstructural construction: Elber et al. Systems and methods for generation of a truss, US Patent Application No. 17/313,209, Filed: 6-May-2021 and the patent was granted as US Patent No. 11,693,390 on 4-July-2023.

Our results were applied to shoe sole design with the aim of a user-specific construction of shoe soles. This effort is a result of a shared effort in WP1 and WP2 where the microstructural tiling in non-congruent and optimized in a way that comforts the specific application, e.g. the shoe sole is more flexible in the toes’ part while more rigid close to the heel. The commercialization of this research will be further pursued in the coming years.

We proposed a new 5-axis flank CNC machining methodology, called double-flank milling, where not only the milling paths, but also the shape of the cutting tool are unknown, see Section 1.2.3. This methodology is possible only for a very specific class of geometries, however, we have shown that for spiral bevel gears or screw rotors, we are able to approximate the workpiece by a single sweep of a properly designed tool within fine machining errors. The positive results from the modeling stage were physically validated with a metal prototype of the tool, provided using diamond coating, and used in the semi-finishing stage of the spiral bevel gear manufacturing. The machining time of the semi-finishing stage was reduced by more than 80% (from 52 mins to 10 mins).
Within the test case #3 (microstructured turbine blade), using internal microstructure, we managed to reduce the weight of a turbine blade by 30% while preserving its physical properties. We aim to approach the aerospace industry (e.g. ITP Aero) with these results.
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