Improving Thermoset Composite Processes to Enhance Mechanical Performance of Additive Manufactured (AM) Parts

NCMS Project #: 142125

Problem: Fleets of vehicles and aircraft require materials that can prevent and mitigate the damages caused by harsh conditions, to ensure maximum “up” time and operational readiness.  Austere environments present a unique challenge for maintenance and sustainment organizations for both the commercial industry and the Department of Defense (DOD).  Whether a product application is installed in Alaska or Arizona, thermosets are a preferred material choice of commercial engineers and designers for challenging applications that require heat-stable parts or protection for internal components.

Benefit: Completion of the project deliverables will provide both commercial and military maintenance organizations the roadmap for producing higher quality, more durable, and more readily available AM parts, closer to the point of need in austere and harsh environments.

Solution/Approach: The objective of this initiative is to develop and demonstrate a process and system for inserting continuous fibers into a UV curable liquid resin and/or Additive Reactive Extrusion (ARE) liquid resin while the part is printing during the AM process.  This approach has the potential to provide a significant benefit in increasing the mechanical properties of UV curable parts that will have a greater surface finish and dimensional accuracy than AM processes that are currently in use by the military.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Increase product availability 
  • Reduce maintenance requirements and weight 
  • Lower lifecycle costs 
  • Ensure warfighter readiness 

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) 
  • Army Materiel Command 
  • OSD Joint Additive Manufacturing Working Group (AMMO) 

Industry Participation:

  • PPG Industries, Inc.
  • North Dakota State University
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Maintenance avoidance and reliability
  • Maintenance management improvement
  • Improved readiness

Focus Area:

  • Advanced/additive manufacturing