Topology Optimization of Lightweight, Additively Manufactured Material Systems for Space

Topology Optimization and Characterization for Additive Manufacturing

Jamie Guest (PI)

Additional Team Members:

Kevin Hemker (Co-I)
Steven Storck (Co-I)
Elizabeth Congdon (Co-I)
Julia Carroll (GS)
Sam Present (GS)

This NASA Early Stage Innovation (ESI) project seeks to exploit the design freedom provided by additive manufacturing (AM) by integrating the free-form design approach of topology optimization, the geometric capabilities and resultant material properties of AM, and the multi-functional performance requirements of large-scale secondary structures for space applications.  Research focuses on wire-fed AM processes and representative manufacturing constraints, variations, and material models will be informed through experiments. Experimental observations will be integrated within the topology optimization approach to design high fidelity porous structures that are optimized for as-built, end-use conditions.  The resulting flexible design-manufacture approach has the capability to design and realize ultra-lightweight, multifunctional metallic structures for space applications, such as those used for equipment mounting.