Embedding Sensors via Metal 3D Printing

M. Norfolk
Fabrisonic LLC,
United States

Keywords: 3D printing, health monitoring, sensors, IoT


Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM), a 3D metal printing technology, uses ultrasonic energy to produce metallurgical bonds between layers of metal foils near room temperature. This low temperature attribute of the process enables integration of temperature sensitive components, such as fiber optic strain sensors, directly into metal structures for load and health monitoring applications. This presentation will provide an overview of the embedding technique and provide several specific case studies: - A high definition fiber optic strain sensor was embedded into an Al 6061-T6 bracket for fatigue testing of an aerospace component. The fiber optic system allows mapping of the strain along the length of the fiber, demonstrated a strain measurement spatial resolution of approximately 1.25mm along the sensor, and enabled the identification of crack initiation within the part. - A high definition fiber optic strain sensor was embedded into a 304 SS pipe for measuring pressure and temperature fluctuations in cryogenic fuel for a rocket test stand. - Fiber optic and thermal sensors were embedded into the baseplate of a PBF metal printer (EOS M290) for in process monitoring of a 3D print job.