Finite Element Thermal Analysis of Three Dimensionally Printed (3DP™) Metal Matrix Composites

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Johnston, S.
Anderson, R.

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Three Dimensional Printing, 3DP™, is under development for the production of metal composites through solid freeform fabrication of a skeleton, followed by sintering and then infiltration of a second, lower melting metal. To maintain dimensionality and allow for infiltration, green component sintering produces only neck growth between powder particles, which differs substantially from conventional powder metallurgy sintering practices. The objective of this study is to investigate finite element thermal-mechanical modeling in order to optimize the sinter profile and predict the final part dimension. The model will relate micro-scale thermal effects to the macro-scale by analyzing the composite medium as a meshed layered element comprising micro-scale elements. The micro-scale elements can be based on bulk transport mechanisms related to neck growth. The analytical model will eventually be used to define the thermal processing parameters and to predict optimal geometry for full density near net shape sintering and infiltration of 3DP™ manufactured components.



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