Ted D. Blacker PhD, Manager Simulation Modeling Sciences, Sandia National Laboratories
The true power of the AM revolution is not in new processes for creating materials and parts, but in the immense design freedom such manufacturing enables. We propose that a revolution in design must accompany this revolution in manufacturing. Sandia National Labs is developing the PLATO tool to drive such a design revolution: a fundamentally different design paradigm using 1) newly minted Topology Optimization (TO) tools combined with 2) breakthroughs for designing with lattice meta-materials; overcoming the inherent and pervasive problems of existing implementations. We need a true design tool – not a toy. Of course TO designs are organic in nature, but PLATO provides shapes which are smooth, connected and directly printable- no CAD post-processing needed. The lattice design tools are enabled using homogenization for use in continuum TO, but also in the use of unique hexahedral meshing to insert the lattices conformally within the organic shapes, again print-ready – no trimming or skinning or CAD processing needed. Exploration of design uncertainty inclusion, n-materials and graded materials, residual stresses, and interactive design speeds is an integral part of PLATO.