Principal investigator: Antonios Kontsos, Ahmad Najafi

University: Drexel University

Industry partners: Boeing Philadelphia

The objective of this proposal is to investigate the technology readiness level (TRL) of advanced manufacturing methods (AM) in relation to aerospace parts. To achieve this goal, Drexel University and Boeing Philadelphia have partnered to use an actual part consisting of a control fitting connected to the forward rotor swathplate (made from a titanium alloy) to explore an integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) framework capable of delivering a similar part made using AM methods with reduced mass/weight. The proposed approach combines engineering design, testing, characterization, simulation, and optimization so that not only a TRL assessment of existing AM capabilities is achieved, but also to generate a roadmap on how advances in material, manufacturing, testing, and modeling could contribute to the continuous improvement of the quality of aerospace parts made by AM methods. Two innovative ideas will be implemented:

  1. Using full field deformation measurements provided by Drexel’s optical metrology systems to inform steps of the topology optimization
  2. Detailed characterization of the metallic part’s microstructure to quantify defects innate to the material, as well as defects and characteristics produced due to the manufacturing process including porosity and phase transformations

Incorporating such effects in the computational modeling and optimization steps of this approach will be extended to include stochastic parameters related to their spatial distribution and their role in the materials microplasticity. This is expected to lead to perturbations of the common topology optimization steps, which could provide unique insights on part design and manufacturability. The faculty involved include experts in ICME and topology optimization, with Boeing Philadelphia committing a technical subject matter expert to support the PhD student assigned to this investigation.