Questek wins Air Force research lab AM modeling challenge

High-temperature aluminum alloy developed for powder-based additive processes. (Courtesy: QuesTek)

QuesTek Innovations won the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and America Makes Additive Manufacturing Modeling Challenge “Macro-scale Structure-to-Properties Predictions.”

The aim was to improve the understanding and modeling capability of the complex linkage of process-structure-performance of AM-built components.

The goal of the AFRL Challenge Series was to improve the accuracy of model predictions for metal additive manufacturing (AM) with INCONEL® 625 nickel-chromium alloy (IN625) as an example. Challenge participants were provided with high-pedigree calibration and validation datasets needed to develop new models directly related to predicting the internal structure and resultant performance of AM metallic components.

After reviewing the highly competitive entries, the Challenge reviewers ranked QuesTek’s submission as Top Performer for the most accurate prediction of key material properties such as strength, elongation, and modulus of elasticity. The inputs provided to QuesTek were limited to printed component geometry and dimensions, alloy compositions, as-printed and heat-treated microstructures, surface roughness, and porosity.

QuesTek’s strong technical team leveraged its Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) technologies, long history of modeling Ni-based Superalloys, and in-house proprietary yield and ultimate strength model that incorporates grain size, solid solution strengthening, and precipitation strengthening contributions, as well as a strain hardening model that predicts a material’s strain-stress relations.

Dr. Jiadong Gong, QuesTek’s Technical Fellow and Manager of Modeling and Software Development said, “QuesTek has successfully demonstrated the ability to predict microstructures and properties across a range of alloy systems in metal AM including nickel, aluminum, titanium, and steel. We are aware of a significant market need for such a capability, and we are currently incorporating this into a comprehensive software package. This package will be able to predict AM materials property and component performance by inputting powder chemistry, machine build parameters, and subsequent thermal processing, and will enable rapid qualification of materials and components for critical applications.”

To date, QuesTek has been awarded more than 60 projects to understand the fundamental metallurgy and resolve the most pressing materials issues in metallic AM.