02 Feb 2015
Materials & Manufacturing
Why does ÉTS have an Additive Manufacturing Research Chair?
École de technologie supérieure de Montréal (ÉTS) has created a new Additive Manufacturing Research Chair so that the university can deepen its knowledge of additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) and how it can be applied to different fields, from aeronautics to health sciences. In this article, which was written after an interview with Professor Vladimir Brailovski, we’ll explore why this new chair is so important.
New research chairs created at ÉTS
On November 26, 2014, ÉTS announced that it would be creating six new research chairs as part of the Research Chair Creation Program established in 2011. Mechanical engineering professor Vladimir Brailovski was appointed to one of these research chair positions.
CIFA research chairs
Brailovski’s position is officially known as the ÉTS Research Chair for Additive Manufacturing Process Engineering, Materials and Structures (known by its French acronym CIFA). The main objective of this chair is to better understand the relationships between design, process and the properties of components made using additive manufacturing technology. Extensive research is being done on this relationship, regardless of the process used to create the parts. The key aspect is not developing a process or materials, but rather developing a product with certain specific characteristics.
The product trinity: design, manufacturing process and properties
A product is made with one or several types of materials. The manufacturing process involves a few transformations. When you look at a product’s design, manufacturing process and final properties—a trinity, if you will—you realize that each parameter is important and closely linked with the other parameters. Thus, the material’s properties affect the product’s functional properties. The way the material is formed also influences the functional properties, as the processing conditions affect the material’s microstructure and, consequently, its properties. If we change one aspect of the trinity—such as the design or the manufacturing process—then the resulting product’s properties will be different.
It’s always important to take a product’s design into consideration. We can’t make a product without thinking about its application or the way it will be made. Let’s consider a classic example: If we use casting to create a part with a certain type of material, then the end product will have some very specific properties. But if we make the same part with the same material but using a forging technique instead, the end product’s properties will not be the same. If you design a product without considering the manufacturing process, you run a high risk of not obtaining the properties you need.
The research chair’s fundamental purpose
In highly regulated fields, such as aeronautics, designers must have a solid understanding of the interplay between a product’s design, manufacturing process and properties. Imagine that an aeronautical product designer wants to use a little-known process—as is currently the case with additive manufacturing—to make a product with very specific properties. Now do you understand the risks involved?
This is the fundamental purpose of the ETS Research Chair on Engineering of Processing, Materials and Structures for Additive Manufacturing and how they apply to different fields, such as aeronautics and health technology.
Vladimir Brailovski is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at ÉTS. He specializes in the design and manufacture of shape memory alloy devices and process engineering for additive manufacturing.
Program : Mechanical Engineering
Research laboratories : LAMSI – Shape Memory Alloys and Intelligent Systems Laboratory