Design Engineering

The science of metal additive manufacturing


Additive Manufacturing 3D printing DMLS metal

Exploring the history, technologies, processing challenges, material development and quality control of 3D printing.

Additive manufacturing (AM) is quickly becoming a popular processing technique in manufacturing. Also known as 3D printing, this method turns powder, wire, or sheets into multi-layer structures. Have you ever wondered how AM works? What are the different processes involved and which option works best for specific applications.

A team of researchers recently published a study titled, “The metallurgy and processing science of metal additive manufacturing.” This article explores everything you could possibly want to know about additive manufacturing.

The study focusing on techniques for producing metal parts, while exploring the science of metal 3D printing. The factors affecting additive manufacturing include processing defects, heat transfer, solidification, solid-state precipitation, mechanical properties and post-processing metallurgy.

The various metal AM techniques are compared, with analysis of the strengths and limitations of each. Only a few alloys have been developed for commercial production, but recent efforts are presented as a path for the ongoing development of new materials for AM processes.


The study kicks off by explaining the history of additive manufacturing showing that the technology has grown and changed tremendously in the past 30 years since researchers in Austin, TX, started development of what is arguably the first machine in the lineage of metal additive manufacturing.

“The development of metal AM techniques has made great progress since then, but faces unique processing and materials development issues. Understanding the various processes used to make metal AM parts, and the issues associated with them, is critical to improving the capabilities of the hardware and the materials that are produced.”

For a comprehensive study of 3D printing including its history, the technologies, processing challenges, material development and quality control, check out, “The metallurgy and processing science of metal additive manufacturing.”



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