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Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing for Efficient Space Vehicles, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The goal of this Phase I SBIR program is to demonstrate the use of Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM) solid state metal 3D printing to create new and innovative materials that enable Space Launch System structures with superior mechanical properties and increased reliability, and validate these advancements with third party testing. Specifically, this effort will demonstrate technical feasibility and test proof of concept for: 1. 3D printing of dissimilar high temperature metals such as Inconel and steel in novel designs 2. Creation of gradient materials for multipurpose structures 3. 3D printing of metal matrix composites for selective reinforcement and lightweighting The UAM process has been refined to achieve high technology readiness levels in aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and titanium, and combinations of these materials. The extension of the UAM process to dissimilar combinations with Inconel, gradient materials, and metal matrix composites is challenging. Successful proof of concept of these innovations and elevation of one specific application to TRL 4, validated by third party testing, will be accomplished in Phase I. With NASA guidance, the project team Phase II plan is to select and develop functional prototypes of Space Launch System structures with the most successful Phase I results to illustrate efficient space vehicle concepts. A demonstration unit will be delivered to NASA for testing at the completion of the Phase II contract. More »

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