Deakin University has been at the forefront of advanced manufacturing for more than 18 years, building a formidable international reputation in fibres and materials development. Deakin’s research capabilities in advanced manufacturing are recognised as world class and Deakin is one of only a few Australian universities to develop a research focus on manufacturing. To meet the challenges of the future-forward thinking and technology demanded by advanced manufacturing, Deakin has built a strong research team in metal additive manufacturing (AM) over the past decade. This includes both the Institute for Frontier Materials and the School of Engineering being part of the AM focused Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Metal Additive Manufacturing, the Deakin-led ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Alloy Innovation for Mining Efficiency, and the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. As such, Deakin has all necessary facilities and capabilities to be an essential partner of this network research collaboration in the metal AM space.
Deakin’s metal AM capabilities cover four AM research themes: process and microstructural control, new materials for AM, new AM processes for rapid alloy design, and design for AM. Achieving consistent mechanical performance is essential for the wider implementation of metal additive manufacturing but this remains far beyond the reach of current practice of laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF). The AM research team at School of Engineering in Deakin have developed a holistic thermal and microstructural control approach that allows the direct LPBF manufacture of isotropic stress-relieved metallic parts literally with minimal necessary post heat treatment.
With a long tradition in alloy design and development, Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials is positioning itself to develop new materials for metal AM, as well as developing new AM processes to rapidly design new alloys for applications in harsh environments. The exemplar is the successful direct laser deposition of chemically homogenous AlCoCrFeNi high entropy alloys and their coatings on 253MA austenitic steel and Inconel 600 superalloy using a mixture of blended elemental powders. With the multi-material laser-engineered net-shaping (LENS) as an integrated pilot-scale facility and the Dectris Pilatus XRD facility as a rapid characterization tool, the AM team at the Institute for Frontier Materials have developed a high throughput pipeline for rapid alloy design and quantification.
Design for additive manufacturing is another priority research theme for the Institute for Frontier Materials and the School of Engineering. Deakin has had a strong manufacturing simulation group, particularly in metal forming and lightweighting. This includes designing an award winning low-cost sustainable vehicle (Model T2) for the 21st Century. Building on these skills and partnering with Monash University, Deakin has created topology optimization software specifically for AM, that takes into account minimum void size, internal void connectivity, and build direction. This software has been applied to lightweighting components within an auxiliary power unit for an aerospace company as part of the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Metal Additive Manufacturing.