Faster, Higher, Stronger: Characterization, Optimization, and Discovery of Additive Manufactured Materials with Synchrotron Methods
Materials Measurement Science Division
National Institute of Standards and Technology
The U.S. Department of Commerce
Manufacturing is an engine of the U.S. economy and a pillar of national security. Advanced manufacturing, encompassing innovative manufacturing methods and products made possible by these methods, enables continuous technology development, increases productivity, and serves as the fundamental driving force behind creating new industrial sectors. The high value-added, often associated with advanced manufacturing, ensures a strong U.S. manufacturing industry and its leadership in the face of intense global competition.
Synchrotron X-ray-based techniques represent a frontier of materials characterization. Because of their penetration ability and time resolution, high-energy X-rays are well suited to probe the structure-property relationship of almost all materials and have an essential role in modern materials science and engineering research. They have significantly impacted many advanced manufacturing technologies, including additive manufacturing (AM), an emerging fast-growing manufacturing domain with increasing industrial investment and adoption.
AM is unique in that the material is built simultaneously as a component. The nonequilibrium AM processes introduce a highly heterogeneous microstructure across multiple length scales. A proper understanding of the properties and behaviors of AM materials, including the build process, presents a significant challenge to the construction of the processing-structure-performance relationship of the final product and the certification of materials with predictable properties. Using examples, we will demonstrate the importance of synchrotron-based characterization techniques in understanding AM materials processing and their roles in validating and benchmarking computer modeling and simulations. We will focus on the unique capabilities of synchrotron methods on AM materials characterization, optimization, and discovery and highlight their contribution to the development of AM technology and industrial innovation.
Fan Zhang is a Physicist at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Zhang is a long-term synchrotron technique developer, user, and advocate. He has served on many committees for the U.S. light sources and neutron facilities, including chairing the Advanced Photon Source User Organization, the largest user organization in the country.
Dr. Zhang specializes in multi-scale materials characterization using synchrotron-based scattering, diffraction, and imaging methods and leads NIST’s use of synchrotron methods to characterize the advanced manufacturing processes. He is a recipient of the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal and the TMS Nagy El-Kaddah Award in Material Processing for his research on additive manufacturing.