The Arizona Board of Regents awarded $350,000 of their Regents' Innovation Fund grants to the project "Advancing Additive Manufacturing Frontiers on Earth and Beyond", a joint project between the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University.
Immediate goals include (i) development of new capabilities in materials chemistry, AM machine design, and manufacturing processes that better position Arizona’s universities for aerospace, medical, and defense funding; (ii) immersion of students in AM curriculum and industry internships; and (iii) creation of a certificate program to future-proof workforce-ready students.
Research thrusts are divided into two processes to convert materials under extreme conditions:
- transformation of extraterrestrial (ET) and earth-based materials into feedstocks; and
- 3D printing to turn feedstocks into engineered parts, electronic devices, structures, and personalized wearable devices for earth and space applications.
Research tasks are organized around four factors: (i) materials (lunar, Martian, asteroid, and meteoritic); (ii) parts (structural components, electronics, engineering parts, wearables); (iii) process innovations; and (iv) design principles related to stereolithography, binder jetting, powder bed fusion, and fused deposition.
In recognition of the need to train the next generation in manufacturing, a cross-university AM certificate program will be developed. Training will emphasize AM integration with existing technologies, rather than AM as a stand-alone manufacturing solution, to produce adaptable engineers who can contribute to in real-world solutions. The certificate program will be jointly developed and offered at ASU, NAU, and UA. Students also will have the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary research.