In the Phase I period, Sentient upgraded its DigitalClone for Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology and successfully demonstrated and validated its “Process model” and “Microstructure model” for simulating metal AM processes. Sentient has partnered with University of Nebraska – Lincoln for model validation.
Specifically, Sentient has implemented a new “Process model” to predict part-level residual stress and distortion for parts built using AM processes. The new model shows high simulation efficiency and accuracy. In addition, Sentient has improved the simulation speed of its “Microstructure model” by 100% for predicting the grain structure and porosity.
The proposed DigitalClone for Additive Manufacturing (DCAM) simulation suite will fill the technical gap NASA is currently facing, and meet NASA’s requirement very well. The proposed solution allows NASA to: 1) simulate the part-level distortion and residual stress with respect to various key process parameters; 2) simulate the microstructure of as-built AM components with respect to key parameters and locations of interest; and 3) simulate the fatigue performance of as-built AM components at specific mechanical loading conditions. This physics-based simulation suite has been well demonstrated in different AM platforms (i.e. powder bed fusion and direct energy deposition) and several alloys systems that NASA is interested in. Those materials include Inconel 625, Inconel 718, 17-4 PH, 15-5 PH stainless steel, Ti64, and AlSi10Mg alloy. Additionally, the simulation suite can be applied to any new alloy with minimum calibration needed. This physics-based simulation suite directly benefits NASA via allowing computational testing for new component design, new materials, and new process, which will significantly reduce cost and time compared to conventional physical testing.
In the Phase II effort, Sentient will focus on developing of prototype software and further validating different materials and components.
NASA is currently on a path to implement additive processes in space flight systems. The technology developed under this STTR will help NASA to successfully build components (e.g. MOXIE, SHERLOC, ion engines and other spacecraft structural) using additive manufacturing process at minimal cost and time. Relevant personnel in NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have showed a strong interest in using the developed technology.
The proposed software module will enable designers, AM suppliers, and operators/purchasers of AM components to expand their implementation of their strategies to take advantage of AM technology. Our initial target list includes customers in aerospace and defense that have ongoing AM initiatives and have already expressed some level of interest in our physics-based solutions.