Dr Amrita Basak, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State University’s college of engineering, has received funding to develop process models for metal additive manufacturing (AM).

Dr Basak reportedly received the five-year US$625,000 grant as part of a US Department of Energy (DOE) 2022 Distinguished Early Career Program award, which supports “extraordinary faculty members as they embark on lifetimes of transformative research, education and leadership aligned with the Office of Nuclear Energy mission,” according to the DOE.

Her project will focus on creating modeling tools using artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve wire and powder laser-directed energy deposition (L-DED) and laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) manufacturing. 

Plans are to develop a “universal approach” to connect different manufacturing methods and materials that are of interest to the nuclear community, and speed up the process development of new materials, according to Dr Basak.

“L-DED and L-PBF are relevant to the Office of Nuclear Energy’s mission because of the portfolio of products [it] caters to,” she said. “For example, L-PBF would be ideal to fabricate heat exchanges with intricate channels, while laser-wire DED would be the economical choice for building large parts, such as pressure vessels. For repairing legacy components or to fabricate functionally graded parts, laser-powder DED could be used.”

“While we are targeting materials that are of interest to the nuclear engineering community in this proposal, the framework can be basically applied to any material systems or manufacturing systems,” the professor added.