Fabrication of Support-Less Engineered Lattice Structures via Jetting of Molten Aluminum Droplets

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Jayabal, Dinesh Krishna Kumar
Zope, Khushbu
Cormier, Denis

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University of Texas at Austin


Magneto Hydro Dynamic (MHD) jetting is a promising new metal additive manufacturing technique that employs on-demand jetting of molten metal droplets onto a moving substrate. A particularly unique aspect of the process is its potential to print down-facing features without the need for support structures. Under suitable droplet jetting conditions affecting time and temperature, each droplet at least partially solidifies prior to impact of the next incoming molten metal droplet. The combination of droplet jetting frequency and substrate velocity dictates the stepover distance between incoming droplets. With relatively large droplet step-over distances (or equivalently small percentage of droplet overlap), it is possible to print unsupported down-facing features that are nearly parallel to the X-Y build platform. In this paper, we describe initial results in which engineered lattice structures have been printed using 4043 aluminum using this approach. A parametric study that maps jetting frequency and droplet step-over distance with the resulting lattice strut angle is presented. With careful control of jetting parameters, we show that it is possible to print nearly horizontal lines without any support.


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