Exploring Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing from Modeling to the Development of a Smart Metal-Matrix Composite

2020-05-06T14:23:04Z (GMT) by Dennis Matthew Lyle
The advent of additive manufacturing has opened up new frontiers in developing metal structures that can have complex geometries, composite structures made of dissimilar metals, and metal structures with embedded sensing and actuation capabilities. These types of structures are possible with ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM); a novel manufacturing technology that combines additive manufacturing through the ultrasonic welding of thin metal foils with computer numerical control (CNC) milling. However, the process suffers from a critical limitation, i.e., a range of build heights within which bonding between a foil and the substrate cannot be originated.
This work has two research objectives, the first is a fundamental understanding of the complex dynamic interaction between the substrate and ultrasonic horn, or sonotrode. Specifically, it focuses on the effects that specific modes of vibration have on the dynamic response of the substrate. The second objective is to utilize the UAM process to create metal structures with an embedded sensor that can detect contact or impact. In addressing the first objective, a semi-analytical model was developed to determine the response to three forcing descriptions that approximate the interfacial friction between the foil and substrate induced by sonotrode compression and excitation. Several observations can be seen in the results: as the height increases the dominant modes of vibration change, the modes of vibration excited also change during a single weld cycle as the sonotrode travels across the length of the substrate, and finally the three forcing models do not have a significant impact on the substrate response trends with height and during the weld cycle.
In addressing the second objective, three prototypes were created by embedding a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) sensor within an AL3003 metal-matrix. TENGs utilize contact electrification between surfaces of dissimilar materials, typically polymers, combined with electrostatic induction to generate electrical energy from a mechanical excitation. The sensors demonstrate a discernible response over a 1-5 Hz frequency range. In addition, the sensors have a linear relationship between output voltage and a mechanically applied load, and have the ability to sense contact through both touch and due to an impacting object.