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SPP 2122 Materials for Additive Manufacturing
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
In 2017, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme "Materials for Additive Manufacturing" (SPP 2122). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the first three-year funding period.
Lasers in production processes, including additive manufacturing, are becoming more and more powerful, but the materials powders available are often inadequate for today's laser processing tasks. In additive manufacturing there has been multiple efforts regarding the adaptation of process parameters, but metal powders are used which were developed for thermal spraying, a completely different kind of process. In modern laser-based additive manufacturing, these powders lead to process instabilities as well as porosities and defects in the resulting components. In the field of polymer powders, there is also a lack of operational availability of a sufficiently wide range of processable materials and a limitation in the final components' property profiles compared to conventional processing routes. Fundamental research focussing on the powder materials synthesis and engineering for laser-based additive manufacturing to shape the process chain right from the start is needed, i.e. powder materials development.

The Priority Programme's main objective is the synthesis of new metal and polymer powders for efficient laser-based 3D additive manufacturing by means of formulations, additivations and (chemical) modifications of both, new and commercial powders. By this, the range of powder materials accessible for laser-based additive manufacturing shall be enhanced significantly. Improving the processability includes requirements like efficient, low cycling time, highly reproducible and precise laser-based additive manufacturing processes. Hence, a recursive research, where the knowledge on materials behaviour during laser-based additive manufacturing is used as input for improved materials design, and vice versa, is preferred. A deepened, preferably predictive, understanding of the materials behaviour during laser-based additive manufacturing by means of suitable analytical and theoretical examination methods is desired.
In this Priority Programme, research will be carried out on materials for laser-based 3D additive manufacturing, which show a high need for improvement. These are limited to polymer and metal micropowders and their chemical as well as metallurgical and additive-based modifications. The Priority Programme also aims at addressing scientific questions and concepts bridging the two materials classes of polymers and metals. Exemplary scientific challenges are:
o Specific adaptation of materials parameters like absorption coefficients for infrared and visible lasers, glass transition and crystallisation temperatures as well as crystallisation kinetics and enthalpy of powders to improve the laser-based additive manufacturing process.
o Development of (salable) powder synthesis processes, aiming at an optimised crystallisation-melting-window or additive dispersion while providing spherical and size-controlled powders, including improved polymer chain mobility, kinetic control of melting and resolidification, or defined alloy recrystallisation.
o Significant extension of the property profiles of laser-based additive manufacturing parts by new and improved materials with e.g. adapted meltability, flowability as well as wetting behaviour.
o Improved understanding of the melting and sintering dynamics by in-situ process monitoring as well as analytical and theoretical methods.
o Improved understanding of the relationship between materials structure and processability on different length scales, e.g. via modelling and simulation.
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