July 28, 2017
Manufacturing has been receiving renewed interest in the US due to its role in economic growth—not just through direct employment, but also through enabling tomorrow’s products and services. Additive manufacturing (AM) is one exciting growth area that enables new products, reduces lead times, and slashes the cost of product customization. While there has been substantial growth and many exciting demonstrations in AM, industrial implementation is still limited due to tradeoffs in functionality, quality, and cost of AM components. This talk will provide examples from Dr. Crane’s research of how these limitations can be addressed using multiple strategies. For example, area-based polymer sintering promises to expand available materials while also improving fabrication speed. Alternatively, the geometric flexibility of AM processes can be used to overcome limited material options to simulate the properties of multiple materials by varying the parameters of a diamond lattice-inspired structure. Another strategy is to improve functionality by replacing an assembly of disparate parts with a single printed system. This approach has shown great promise with demonstrations such as a printed quad copter with an integrated phased array antenna. The multi-functional printed system introduces difficult new process quality challenges that provide rich opportunities for future research.
Bio: Dr. Nathan Crane received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT in 1998 and 1999 respectively. He later completed a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Materials Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005. After completing his education and a few stops in industry (Caldera Engineering (industrial valves), Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, and Sandia National Laboratories), Dr. Crane joined the University of South Florida in 2006 where he is now an associate professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Crane’s research interests lay in the areas of design and advanced manufacturing with a particular interest in additive manufacturing (3D Printing) and digital microfluidics. Recent projects have included microscale actuation using droplet microfluidics, capillary self-assembly process models, large-area polymer sintering, and additive manufacturing (3D Printing) of RF systems. His work has been recognized with an NSF graduate research fellowship, the 2005 Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium (SFF) Best Paper Award, and a 2015 USF Outstanding Faculty Award. Dr. Crane recently returned from England where he worked with the University of Sheffield Centre for Advanced Additive Manufacturing (ADaM) as a Fulbright Scholar.