Additive Manufacturing in Lightweight Construction

The bodies of tomorrow are not only lighter, but above all highly flexible. In the picture: Concept Car EDAG Light Cocoon is a visionary approach of a compact sports car with a comprehensively bionically optimized and manufactured vehicle structure. It is covered with an outer skin made of weather-resistant textile.

Modeling and Simulating Additive Manufacturing by Selective Laser Fusion

Project CustoMat3D

Additive manufacturing processes have become an integral part of the production of high stress components that are manufactured in small batch sizes such as blades or fuel nozzles for gas turbines. Besides aerospace, automotive manufacturing is predestined for the use of additive manufacturing methods because of the large variety of products. In the context of the BMBF-sponsored project »CustoMat 3D«, we develop methods in this area in cooperation with our partners. The project aim is to use simulation-aided development and qualification to create custom-made aluminum alloy materials for use in laser additive manufacturing for the automobile industry.

 

New options and degree of freedom in design

The basic principle of additive manufacturing is the layer-by-layer manufacturing process, which eliminates many design limitations due to traditional production methods, like pre-determined tool paths or draft angles. This allows to make full use of the potential of end-use specific lightweight construction as structural components need no longer be of a generic design covering all possible load cases.

Selective laser melting
©

In selective laser melting, the portion of the powder layer belonging to the component is first melted and then the contour is traced for better surface quality.

Custom Aluminum Materials for the Automotive Industry

Today's aluminum alloys are generally not customized for a specific application and do not fully exploit cost and weight reduction potentials. However, the optimal simulation approach is still the subject of ongoing research.

In cooperation with MAGMA, we are developing new approaches to simulate the extremely fast phase transitions and solidification process as well as the resulting material structures. To predict deformation, we take into account all relevant length and time scales. Specifically, we include:

  • The details of the powder and melt pool in the vicinity of the laser
  • The effects of the punctiform influx of heat due to the laser on the residual stress and temperature distribution throughout the component

We develop a simultaneous multi-scale method that divides the work piece into a near- and a far-field, thus properly accounting for the local physical conditions, such that we can model and detail the entire work piece.

 

Partners in the Project CustoMat 3D

The project »CustoMat 3D« is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the BMBF project and research scheme ProMat_3D. We work together with several other research institutes and our industry partners: