The Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies (ADAPT) at Colorado School of Mines is collaborating with three industry partners on new research into advanced manufacturing for military applications.
ADAPT has been awarded Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants from the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct cooperative research with ADAPT members Citrine Informatics and Elementum 3D, as well as Boulder-based Special Aerospace Services (SAS).
The funded projects include 3D printing of rocket nozzles, a materials informatics framework to predict the effects of additive manufacturing defects and the development of new steels that soldiers could easily print with in the theater of war.
"ADAPT is especially excited about these successes in the STTR programs, as economic development centered around the U.S. manufacturing supply chain motivates the core mission of ADAPT, given our incubation by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and continued support from the Department of Defense's Office of Economic Adjustment," said Aaron Stebner, executive director of ADAPT and Rowlinson Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Mines. "These programs demonstrate the funding philosophy of ADAPT— to create a bigger pie for both the academic and industry researchers. The success doing this with our small businesses shows our commitment to transitioning the research findings into new technologies and businesses that meet our nation's modern manufacturing needs."
The three projects, each led by the industry partner, are:
- "An Integrated Materials Informatics/Sequential Learning Framework to Predict the Effects of Defects in Metals Additive Manufacturing," led by Citrine Informatics and funded through the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
- "Microstructure Engineering to Optimize Graded Material Properties of Turbopump Components Through Local Manipulation of Additive Manufacture Build Parameters," led by SAS and funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
- "Design of Easy-to-Use Structural Alloy Feedstocks for Additive Manufacturing," led by Elementum 3D, a Mines alumni-owned company, and funded through the Army Research Office (ARO)
Each project has been awarded Phase I contracts of $150,000 to prove the proposed concepts. Upon successful demonstration of the ideas, the grants may be extended for three additional years at $1.5 million each, to be shared between Mines and the companies.
The STTR program encourages small businesses and universities to work together to develop new technologies that support the nation's needs. The DoD is one of five federal agencies that currently participates in STTR. The others are the Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, NASA and the National Science Foundation.