Curtiss-Wright Collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh on DOE Research Award


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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Curtiss-Wright is collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering on a research project as one of two corporate partners. The University of Pittsburgh research project is being funded by a $1 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to improve the design and production of additive manufactured nuclear plant components as part of the DOE Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET) program.

Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, has advanced the manufacture of complex components utilizing metal alloy powders that are applied one microscopic layer at a time and sintered or fused by lasers. Under current manufacturing processes, maintaining a component’s structural integrity requires interior supports which are too difficult and expensive to remove post-machining. This limits the adoption of AM by industries such as nuclear energy, which rely on cost-effective manufacturing of complex components.

To find an effective solution to these complex processes, the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering will be the lead investigator on the award to advance design and manufacture of nuclear plant components via additive manufacturing.

The novel research will be directed by Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science (MEMS) at the Swanson School. Co-investigators include Wei Xiong, assistant professor of MEMS at Pitt, and Owen Hildreth, assistant professor at the

Arizona State University School for Engineering of Matter, Transport, and Energy. Corporate collaborators in Pittsburgh include Curtiss-Wright Corporation and Kennametal Inc.

The integrated approach taken by the project team will be to develop first-of-its-kind dissolvable supports, greater topology optimization, and improved microstructure design to make state-of-the-art nuclear components at lower cost, with minimal distortion and greater structural integrity.

Greg Hempfling, Vice President and General Manager of the EMS Division of Curtiss-Wright Corporation commented, “The University of Pittsburgh DOE Award is a great opportunity to combine university research with our nuclear component design and manufacturing experience to assist in the advancement of additive manufacturing in the nuclear industry. This effort will continue to advance nuclear power as a viable energy resource for our nation.”

The award is one of five NEET Crosscutting Technologies projects led by Department of Energy national laboratories, industry and U.S. universities to conduct research to address crosscutting nuclear energy challenges that will help to develop advanced sensors and instrumentation, advanced manufacturing methods, and materials for multiple nuclear reactor plant and fuel applications.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


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