AM@Å - research

Research projects on additive manufact at the faculty of science and technology, Uppsala university

AM research at Ångström

At the Faculty of science and technology at Uppsala university, there are a number of different research projects running where additive manufacturing is a major part of the research theme.

These projects are mainly conductedd at the departments of Chemistry - Ångström, Materials science, and Physics, and range from materials design to devlopment of new cutting edge AM equipment. Also the applications have a wide range: from life sciences to the metal industry.

The research projects vary a lot in size, from small projects with no external funding to large competence centres with many nodes, collaborators, and extensive external funding.

AddLife – Additive manufacturing for life sciences

Funding Vinnova competence centre, 34 Mkr over 5 years (total budget 98 Mkr)
Principal investigator(s)  Cecilia Persson et al.
Collaboration partner(s)
Universities  Uppsala University (coordinator), KTH - Royal Institute of Technology, SLU - Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Universidade do Minho
Research Institutes  Swerim, RISE
Industry  GE Healthcare, OssDsign, Graphmatech, Disruptive Materials, Cellink, ÅF, Erasteel, Exmet, Resorbable Devices, VBN Components, Axial 3D, AddNorth
Public sector Uppsala Region incl. Akademiska Hospital and the Unit for Sustainable Development at the Regional Office, Medical Products Agency,  Yrkeshögskolan Sandviken.

AddLife is a VINNOVA Competence Centre that gathers more than 20 dynamic partners in academia, industry and the public sector to support competence development in Additive Manufacturing for the Life Sciences. The centre is funded by academia, industry and VINNOVA in equal parts, with a total budget of approx. 100 MSEK. It will run for 5 years in a first instance, between 2020-2024, and engage many people with a passion for 3D-printing and improving people’s lives.

Within the centre, collaborative research projects will be run through masters and PhD students, as well as dedicated research engineers. Relevant courses and seminars will be held, and the excellent innovation system in Uppsala will be involved to support the implementation of ideas from the centre to become sustainable innovations.

 Current research themes within the centre include Equipment and process development, Bioprocess materials, Implants, Bioprinting, Medication, Implementation

The effect of pore shape and size on cell behaviour can be readily assessed using additive manufacturing. Here, an osteoblast in a printed composite scaffold.

Defect engineering in architectured materials

Funding: VR starting grant 2019-2022

Principal investigator: Mahmoud Mousavi 

Descritpion: A sustainable growth can benefit from including both perfection and imperfection in the design parameters of future materials. In this context, the traditional viewpoint of always aiming for perfect materials is changing. In this project, we implement the idea of defect engineering in architectured materials.

Additive manufacturing – development of processes and materials

EBSD and TEM images of an induction melted AlCoCrFeNi high entropy alloy (top) and an AM printed sample of the same alloy (bottom). Both samples were produced from the same powder batch.
Funding SSF 32 MSEK during 2016-2020
Principal investigator(s) Ulf Jansson, Urban Wiklund, Björgvin Hjörvarsson
Collaboration partner(s) Luleå University of Technology (LTU) and Malmö University (MAU)
Sandvik Additive and Exmet AB

The project aims to bridge the gap between fundamental science and production in additive manufacturing (AM). We use a combination of experimental and computational methods to reach a more fundamental understanding of the relationship between process parameters, microstructure and properties. We use alloys available on the market today and also develop new alloys for future use in AM. The principal ambition of the project is to develop and apply new processes and models to predict and build AM components with specific microstructures and properties, which can be utilised in generic industrial production.

The project is organized into three materials-based work packages (WPs).
They are: (i) conventional alloys (Ni-based alloys and steels), (ii) amorphous alloys and (iii) high entropy alloys.

Additive manufacturing of implant bioceramics

Funding Faculty funding
Principal investigator(s) Wei Xia

Insufficient alveolar ridge volume in vertical dimension remains a challenging obstacle for successful dental implant treatment, with current augmentation solutions still experiencing high failure rates. The use of patient-specific graft with precisely customized structure according to the 3D shape of the patient’s bone defects may improve the vascularization and the ultimate rehabilitation of alveolar ridge deficiency. To this end, in this project, we are aiming at developing a newly customized bioceramic (or composite) grafts for reliable vertical alveolar ridge augmentation.

3D-printed alloys revealed: structure-property relations in AM seen with neutron scattering

Funding SwedNess research school for neutron scattering (SSF)
Principal investigator(s) Martin Sahlberg-Häggblad
Collaboration partner(s) Premysl Beran, European Spallation Source

The project aims at providing a better understanding of the relationship between structure and properties in additive manufacturing (AM). The project investigates alloys from the Inconel family, high entropy alloys and amorphous metals, among other novel alloys, using characterization techniques such as scanning electron microscopy and specially, the combination of neutron and X-ray diffraction. Neutron scattering is an ideal characterization technique to study AM components, as parts can be probed deeper than with other methods and in a non-destructive manner. Neutron-based measurements are conducted with several techniques: diffraction, atomic pair density correlation function (to investigate local structural arrangements), polarized neutrons (to study order/disorder) and imaging (to investigate microstructure and porosity).

Filament-based AM of metal composites

Funding
Principal investigator(s) Ulf Jansson, Mamoun Taher
Collaboration partner(s) Graphmatech AB and Add North AB

This project aims to develop a filament-based AM-process to print metal-containing composite structures. Initially, we mix a polymer such as PLA (polylactic acid) with a metal-containing component. The mixture is compounded into a polymer/metal precursor, which is added to an extruder giving a composite filament. The produced filament will then be used to form structures in a 3D printer. We use a commercially available printer modified to meet our requirements. The major challenge of this project lies in the optimization of the filament and the printing parameters to build a component with specific properties. For example, we are currently investigating the thermal conductivity and magnetic properties of Cu and Fe-containing structures.

Surface modification for new AM materials

SEM EDX map, showing a the cross-section of a coated powder particle.
Funding  Vinnova mobility grant (186 kkr) and ÅForsk grant (461 kkr)
Principal investigator(s) Erik Lewin
Collaboration partner(s)  Sandvik additive

The project is a collaboration between academia and industry, which aims at developing new methods to enhance the functionality of metallic materials from additive manufacturing (“3D-printing”). Surface modifications are used to modify the powders used in additive manufacturing, either in order to modify and enhance the printed material, or to change powder properties to optimize the printing process.

3D printed supercapacitors

Funding  Faculty funding, and Swedish Research Council grant 2019-2022 (3 812 kkr)
Principal investigator(s) Stefan Johansson
Collaboration partner(s)  Helena Grennberg, Organic chemistry, UU

Supercapacitors (SCs) are energy storage components that typically are used when there is a need to have fast charging and discharging. In particular the double layer SCs are expected to have very long lifetime and to be environmental friendly while the energy density of commercial components are much less than Li-ion batteries. Still, there are a few scientific articles that indicate that the energy density of SCs could be as high, or higher, than commercial batteries.Our project is focused on investigating the necessary design of electrodes to achieve energy density similar to batteries by 3D-nanoprinting graphene and nanoparticle spacers.

Development of a 3D nanoprinter

Funding  Carl Tryggers Stiftelse 2020-2021 (493 kkr)
Principal investigator(s) Stefan Johansson

There are few printing techniques that gives sub-µm resolution and structures. Essentially none of the existing techniques allows to print various materials. In several cases there is a need for at least two different materials, e.g. graphene and Au nanoparticles for supercapacitors, and this project aims at developing the necessary printer. A nm-resolution stage will be combined with printheads allowing sub-µm printing of various materials. Also techniques to increase printing speed will be implemented in the equipment.

Development of EHD printing

Funding   Faculty funding
Principal investigator(s)  Stefan Johansson

Electrohydrodynamic (EHD) printing is similar to electrospinning techniques, using a high electric field to eject a fibre from a liquid material out of a nozzle, with the difference that printing is typically done with less than 1 mm distance between nozzle and substrate. A main problem with EHD printing is that the fibre deflects undesirably due to e.g. charging of the substrate and other effect that alter the electric field between nozzle and substrate. We are looking at techniques to electrostatically steer the fibre deflection to be able to print e.g. solid bodies with µm and sub-µm resolution.

3D structure printed in polycarolactone using EHD technique. Wells are 400x400 µm.

Additive manufacturing of medications

Funding The Olle Engkvist Foundation
Principal investigator(s) Jonas Lindh
Collaboration partner(s) Christel Bergström, Dept. of Pharmacy, UU
Gustaf Ljungman, Gunnar Liminga and Mattias Paulsson, Uppsala Academic Hospital

In the project we aim to develop additive manufacturing methods for production of medications with the long term goal of producing medications locally in hospitals. Current efforts are directed towards developing suitable manufacturing techniques and also to find suitable excipients and drug formulations.

Prototyping for spectroscopy and catalysis

Funding KAW and VR
Principal investigator(s)  Jacinto Sa, Leif Hammarström
Collaboration partner(s)

Ultrafast spectroscopy is a powerful tool to look at processes in real-time. However, the increasing complexity fo systems and reactions demand the use of bespoken and tailored spectroscopic cells, which are not commercial commonly available. We have been developing and prototyping these cells with 3D printing, enabling us to perform studies both in real-time and under working conditions. The applications include photocatalytic processes (e.g. artificial photosynthesis and photo-redox catalysis) and solar cells.