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AM of Shape Memory Alloys for aerospace, defense, and medicine: Key Challenges, Lesson Learned and the Path Forward

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Shape memory alloys (SMAs) cover a wide variety of applications from biomedical to aerospace, automotive and oil industries. Both shape memory and/or superelasticity behavior make these alloys suitable for such applications, which is a result of a phase transformation between solid-state phases. However, SMAs are currently only available in very simple geometries due to difficulties in their processing and machining. Hence, additive manufacturing (AM) of SMAs as a way to achieve complex shapes has been of interest to researchers. University of Toledo is among the pioneering groups working on laser powder bed fusion of SMAs and have done extensive process optimization. There are multiple process parameters (PPs) involved in AM which need to be optimized to achieve a successful built. As for a successful built, different criteria were defined: density, dimensional accuracies, microstructural features, impurity pickups, mechanical behavior-recoverable and irrecoverable strains, strength, modulus of elasticity and transformation temperatures — to name a few. Our team has actively investigated the effects of PPs on the properties of final parts for years and achieved multiple goals in the fabrication of both low- and high-temperature SMAs. Recently, UToledo Advanced Manufacturing Institue has invested in industrial size LPBF printers as well as binder jet technology to expand the current know-how of LPBF of SMAs in order to pave the path toward adoption of AM technology for SMAs. In this presentation, the current state-of-art in AM of SMAs will be discussed and the main challenges will be brought up to the AM community to find possible solutions. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the state-of-art in additive manufacturing of smart materials such as shape memory alloys.
  • Identify the properties of additive manufacture shape memory alloys and compare to the other manufacturing routes.
  • Gain insight into the challenges toward industrialization of additive manufacturing of shape memory alloys as well as suggestions for the proper technology to adopt for such materials.