Research Themes

Computational modelling of 3D printing

The essence of 3D printing is the targeted deposition of small, carefully controlled amounts of fluid microdrops and their controlled agglomeration and solidification, to build complex bespoke structures. Despite much progress, many challenges remain, in particular with the printing of a wide range of materials such as metals as well as the potential to deposit multiple materials contemporaneously.

Simulation of the solidification of a molten metal microdrop, courtesy of Dr Mykyta Chubynsky and performed in Basilisk.

The complexity of the process and extremely small time and length scales involved make a trial-and-error approach to the design of 3D printing processes unfeasible, so that computational modelling becomes the design tool of choice (see preliminary simulations above). This is the challenge which we will address in Research Challenge 2 of a major interdisciplinary EPSRC Programme Grant led by the Centre for Additive Manufacturing in Nottingham alongside numerous industrial partners.

Images of deposited metal droplets showing poor bonding between the solidified drops. Courtesy of the Centre for Additive Manufacturing in Nottingham.

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