Laser powder deposition is the manufacture of small intricate metal parts such as those used in aero and automobile engines. This technology has significant potential advantages over conventional casting methods in that small parts with internal features can be built, enabling special processes and light structures to be constructed.
The powder deposition process works by melting a layer of powder in a pattern determined by the path of a laser. The layers are either 300 microns or 20-50 microns thick depending on the process used.
To take full advantage of the intricacy of form enabled by these additive technology approaches in these applications commensurate non-destructive inspection capability is needed which can support the cycle times needed in rapid agile manufacture of high performance, high loading efficiency structures. This requires an inspection process capable of handling the complex evolving forms, in cycle with a processing environment with a feature resolution on a scale relevant to the component structural elements.
This project aims to address this problem and provide non-destructive testing techniques with known capabilities for the process.