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NEWS | March 6, 2017

NRL Scientists Receive ASME Best Paper Award for ‘Slicer’ Algorithm

By Daniel Parry

Three research scientists from the Computational Multiphysics Systems Lab, at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), have been awarded the Best Paper Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for their research on geometric algorithms known as ‘slicers’ used in additive manufacturing.

The “Best of Conference Paper” was awarded to Drs. Athanasios Iliopoulos, John Michopoulos, and John Steuben at the 2016 Computers and Information in Engineering Conference for their paper entitled “Implicit slicing for functionally tailored additive manufacturing.”

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as layered manufacturing, rapid prototyping, or less formally as 3-D printing, is an increasingly important family of fabrication techniques for the production of a wide variety of components. These fabrication techniques are characterized by successive ‘additions’ of material to a domain, as opposed to the repeated subtractions [of excess material] that are employed by most traditional fabrication technologies.

“The purpose of the slicer is to compute a parametric toolpath and associated commands, which direct an AM system to produce a physical realization of a three-dimensional input model,” said Michopoulos, head, Computational Multiphysics Systems Laboratory. “Existing slicing algorithms operate by application of geometric transformations upon the input geometry in order to produce the toolpath. In this paper we introduced a new implicit slicing algorithm based on the computation of toolpaths derived from the level sets of arbitrary heuristics-based or physics-based fields defined over the input geometry.”

The primary focus of this research is to illustrate the numerous advantages of adopting an implicit slicing methodology that may significantly improve the state of the AM digital thread, reduce the deficiency of design data, and facilitate ongoing efforts to develop functionally imbued AM objects.

By re-introducing design intent into the toolpath generation process, it is likely that the implicit methodology will allow the AM of complex components that are better suited to their intended purpose. Additionally, it may be possible to achieve important improvements in production time, raw material, and energy consumption that will in turn reduce the cost of AM structures and components.The ASME Computer and Information in Engineering (CIE) Division, Best Paper Awards recognize the best papers in each of the primary topics sponsored by the Technical Committees at the CIE annual conference, and the overall conference best paper. Primary topics include Advanced Modeling and Simulation (AMS), Computer-Aided Product and Process Development (CAPPD), Systems Engineering, Information and Knowledge Management (SEIKM), and Virtual Environments and Systems (VES).

In honor of this award, the team further acknowledges the provided support by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) through the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s core funding, and the National Research Council’s Research Associateship Program.

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