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Nondestructive Evaluation Program

KSC Foundational Methodology for Additive Manufacturing - NDE of AM Titanium Alloys

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Impeller vanes printed using the EBM process. Credit: CSIRO

Initially, in the first year of the project, the test specimens will be designed in CAD, or applicable design software, and be submitted to conditions where it will develop representative manufactured defects such as porosity and lack of fusion in a controlled and known manner. The test specimens will be manufactured by CSIRO using the Arcam Electron Beam Melting (Arcam EBM) manufacturing process and constructed from Titanium 6Al – 4V (Ti 6-4) powder.  Identical test specimens without flaws may also be manufactured from the same process and used for a baseline comparison. Mid to late year one, NDE investigation will take place at Kennedy Space Center, FL utilizing the NASA KSC labs and onsite Engineering Services Contract.  Computed Tomography (CT), Ultrasonic Testing (UT), and Laser UT will be used to identify and develop techniques to characterize the built in defects in each component.  Engineering analysis will be performed to determine the most ideal NDE method.

Investigation will continue into the following years with the most appropriate NDE methods.  New test components with more representative flaws may be required to expand the understanding of the NDE techniques capability to measure each type of flaw.  The test results will show the ability of each NDE technique to detect and characterize each flaw as they relate to known critical flaw size requirements. This research will build a foundation of integrating NDE technology into the manufacturing process; therefore, being able to evaluate real time.

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