The Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence – MAMCE – consists of a dedicated research and development team within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Named Canada’s most entrepreneurial university by Startup Canada, UNB includes over 20 research institutes and centers and generated over 75 startup and spinoff companies. MAMCE helps to align advanced materials studies with practical manufacturing, leveraging the incorporation of additive manufacturing in Atlantic Canada, through a dynamic collaboration with partners in the Energy sector.
Dr. Mohsen Mohammadi is the Director of Research and Development for the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence. He is also an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and director of the Cognitive Performance Optimization Lab at the University of New Brunswick.
Mohammadi develops advanced materials using additive manufacturing techniques. His current research focuses on enhancing the mechanical, corrosion, impact, and fatigue properties of additively manufactured metals (e.g., aluminum, titanium, steels). It also involves 3D printed long fiber composites, metal matrix coatings, and ultra-light high strength metamaterials.
Mohammadi is a leader of several significant projects on metal additive manufacturing in the marine, defense, and aerospace sectors. Research areas at MAMCE span across the entire realm of advanced additive manufacturing, from advanced material characterization and studies to microscopy, radiography, multiscale modeling, cognitive design and general factory of the future processes.
Marine-ready AM materials
For example, Corrax stainless steel powder was developed to target the tool and die industry as well as the marine sector. This project investigated the effects of powder size, morphology and powder compositions on mechanical properties of final additively manufactured parts. We also develop an optimum sieving technique for remaining powders after the building is completed, for recycling as well as to lower the cost of procedures. This also built the foundation for developing new variations of stainless-steel powders for better mechanical and corrosion properties. The Corrax project evolved to address the missing links to generate the knowledge and technology to develop 3D printed Corrax stainless steel parts for the marine industry such as impellers.
MAMCE also focuses more generally on all corrosion-resistant materials, which are ideal for marine applications. It does so by investigating the effects of building parameters to produce as-built parts with optimum corrosion properties, looking at elements such as ideal powder size, laser power, scan speed, layer thickness and hatch distance. Other elements studied include the effects of different levels of surface roughness on the corrosion properties of additively manufactures parts. In addition, MAMCE engineers study the effects of the different corrosive environment on the corrosion behavior of 3D printed parts, with applications both in marine and nuclear energy (the effects of ionized water on the corrosion behavior of 3D printed parts for radiation-assisted corrosion).
Other areas of focus include fatigue-resistant materials, impact and ballistics (blast and shock loadings), temperature behavior (both warm and extreme cold such as in Arctic environments). A very recent project saw MAMCE 3D print turbomachinery parts such as blades using GE Additive’s M2 Series 5 and 316L stainless steel powder.
The MAMCE AM Factory
The center also focuses on advancing AM processes and part capabilities. Here, 3D printing is seen as one of the key basic enabling technologies for Industry 4.0 and the lab explores integration of 3D printers, 3D scanners and CNC machines in production logistics, with the goal of redesigning the supply chain based on end-to-end digital integration of 3D-printing technology, achieving full automation in the production line.
Reverse Engineering is considered an essential technological development within Atlantic Canada’s core industries. MAMCE experts, equipped with advanced CAD software (CATIA V5), simulation (ABAQUS), 3D scanner (MetraSCAN 3D) and 3D printer (GE M2 Series 5), have enabled targeted a broad range of partners’ demands in the Energy and Manufacturing sectors.
This area of study includes looking at hybrid manufacturing. The primary goal is to investigate the effects of different pre-heating scenarios for optimum interface properties in a final and hybrid additively manufactured part. This is also achieved by investigating different heat treatment procedures for the highest hardness properties in a final hybrid, additively manufactured part and by studying the parts interface under different loading conditions such as impact or corrosion fatigue.
Radiography is used to look at the behavior of powder and melt-pool during the printing process. This research provides insight into the high heating and cooling rates during powder bed printing. In terms of software, MAMCE works to develop a phenomenological simulation framework using commercial finite element software to model the mechanical behavior of additively manufactured parts during different loading conditions. A micromechanics model is then developed to predict the microstructure of additively manufactured parts under different loading conditions such as impact, compression and tension for a variety of materials.
In terms of part design, MAMCE is also developing machine learning algorithms using cognitive-based models to design micro-lattice structures for lightweight and optimum energy absorption. The center’s engineers work on a computer science/mechanical engineering platform for topology and tomography optimization for different marine and aerospace parts to provide optimum performance during service.
This project improves lightweight structures with optimum performance for the aerospace industry as well as reducing build times and material used to manufacture greener and, by also integrating sensors, ultimately smarter products.