Architected Microlattice Materials by Self-Propagating Waveguide Processing

A.L. Corrion, E. Clough, Z. Eckel, J. Hundley, C. Roper, T. Schaedler
HRL Laboratories, LLC,
United States

Keywords: microlattice, cellular materials, additive manufacturing, architected materials, microtruss


HRL Laboratories has developed a platform technology to rapidly and scalably manufacture architected lattice materials based on polymers, metals, and ceramics suitable for a variety of applications. Architected materials with periodic cellular structure exhibit unprecedented properties that cannot be achieved with conventional materials. A self-propagating polymer waveguide process invented at HRL is used to additively manufacture architected polymer lattice structures 100-1000x faster than conventional 3D printing approaches such as stereolithography [1]. HRL’s process is inherently scalable to large areas in addition to offering high throughput. Polymer formulations for high-strength, low-density sandwich panel cores have been developed as well as elastomeric formulations for padding and protective applications with improved impact protection. Polymer lattices formed using HRL’s process can also be processed into hollow metallic structures such as ultralight metallic microlattices that are currently the world’s lightest metal [2]. Such metallic structures can be used for a range of lightweighting applications in aerospace and automotive industries [3]. Finally, a recent breakthrough at HRL has enabled fabrication of ceramic lattices using the same platform technology with pre-ceramic polymers [4]. These ceramic structures can withstand temperatures up to 1700 °C, making them suitable for a variety of high-temperature and extreme environment applications including jet engine and rocket propulsion. HRL is currently pursuing commercialization of the platform technology used to produce these materials. References: [1] A.J. Jacobsen, W.B. Carter and S. Nutt, Adv. Materials 19, 3892 (2007) [2] T.A. Schaedler, A.J. Jacobsen, A.Torrents, A.E. Sorensen, J.Lian, J.R.Greer, L. Valdevit and W.B. Carter, Science 334, 961 (2011). [3] E.C. Clough, J. Ensberg , Z.C. Eckel , C.J. Ro and T.A. Schaedler, Int. J. of Solids and Structures 91, 115 (2016). [4] Z.C. Eckel, C. Zhou, J.H. Martin, A.J. Jacobsen, W.B. Carter, T.A. Schaedler, Science 351, 58 (2016).