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Non-destructive simulation of node defects in additively manufactured lattice structures

: Lozanovski, B.; Downing, D.; Tino, R.; Plessis, A. du; Tran, P.; Jakeman, J.; Shidid, D.; Emmelmann, C.; Qian, M.; Choong, P.; Brandt, M.; Leary, M.


Additive manufacturing 36 (2020), Art. 101593
ISSN: 2214-8604
ISSN: 2214-7810
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAPT ()

Additive Manufacturing (AM), commonly referred to as 3D printing, offers the ability to not only fabricate geometrically complex lattice structures but parts in which lattice topologies in-fill volumes bounded by complex surface geometries. However, current AM processes produce defects on the strut and node elements which make up the lattice structure. This creates an inherent difference between the as-designed and as-fabricated geometries, which negatively affects predictions (via numerical simulation) of the lattice’s mechanical performance. Although experimental and numerical analysis of an AM lattice’s bulk structure, unit cell and struts have been performed, there exists almost no research data on the mechanical response of the individual as-manufactured lattice node elements. This research proposes a methodology that, for the first time, allows non-destructive quantification of the mechanical response of node elements within an as-manufactured lattice structure. A custom-developed tool is used to extract and classify each individual node geometry from micro-computed tomography scans of an AM fabricated lattice. Voxel-based finite element meshes are generated for numerical simulation and the mechanical response distribution is compared to that of the idealised computer-aided design model. The method demonstrates compatibility with Uncertainty Quantification methods that provide opportunities for efficient prediction of a population of nodal responses from sampled data. Overall, the non-destructive and automated nature of the node extraction and response evaluation is promising for its application in qualification and certification of additively manufactured lattice structures.