When you 3D print something, you expect that the image you see on your computer screen will be perfectly reproduced on the 3D printer. But that’s not always the case, especially when it comes to more complex industrial metal prints. It’s difficult to fully control the material properties that a 3D printed object will have.
“We wrongly assume that what you print will be identical to what was designed,” said Suresh Babu, who holds the Governor’s Chair for Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). “Printing a material involves a very complex temperature profile for the material due to multiple heating, melting, and cooling events that are all interconnected and inherently dependent on one another.”