Vapor-phase metal additive manufacturing
Additive manufacturing (AM, or 3-D printing) with metals is a rapidly growing field catalyzing a revolution in modern manufacturing. The most common approach involves the use of metal powders as a feedstock material. The proposed research program will use metalorganic gaseous precursors such as Ni(CO)4 and Fe(CO)5 which facilitate low temperature (~200 C) deposition, forming solid metal deposits utilizing infrared light radiation-based heating. The low deposition temperature of nickel and iron carbonyls is attractive as it facilitates low thermal stresses during part building, providing the possibility of extreme dimensional accuracy for such process. The project will explore both stand-alone deposits using the concept of "laser writing", as well as metal deposition on 3-D printed polymer substrates. The proposed technique will enable broadening Weber’s portfolio of products produced by conventional nickel vapor deposition process (using oil-heated mandrels as substrates).