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MEAM Seminar: “U.S. Army Additive Manufacturing Materials and Technologies”

September 8, 2020 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

With the constantly changing threat environment, the Army needs to be able to quickly adapt their tactics and equipment. But burdensome and lengthy acquisition cycles make this challenging. Additive manufacturing can potentially be utilized to overcome many of the challenges and enables on-demand manufacturing of repair parts, as well as rapid prototyping.

Through topology optimization, parts can be designed lighter and/or stronger and more cost-effective. In addition to new technologies being explored such as hybrid manufacturing in which entire metal and plastic devices can be fabricated within the same piece of equipment, a host of novel feedstocks are being developed such as multi-material thermoplastics and filled resins that further increase the range of properties and applications of the 3D printed parts. In addition to the research performed in Army laboratories, one of the thrusts of Army additive manufacturing research is the ability to manufacture at the point of need in remote environments. Research at the US Army Research Laboratory Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC-ARL) has shown that agile, expeditionary manufacturing could be accomplished through the use of materials at or near to the location of our operating bases. These materials could include not only commercial feedstocks, but also the organic and inorganic materials naturally occurring in the area and recycled materials from the operating bases such as polymers, metals, and paper materials. Recently, most of the ARL AM focus is in materials for energetics including high solids filled composites, custom alloys and hybrid materials. This seminar will present a brief overview of the organization, goals and AM programs, and then discuss in more detail the polymer-related AM efforts.

Nicole Zander

Research Chemist, Manufacturing Science and Technology Branch, US Army Research Laboratory

Dr. Nikki Zander is Research Chemist in the Manufacturing Science and Technology Branch at the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Aberdeen, MD. Her current primary research interests are polymer processing and additive manufacturing. Most recently, Dr. Zander served as the Task Lead for surface science on the Essential Research Program Science of Additive Manufacturing for Next Generation Munitions. She led a team of scientists and engineers to develop science which enabled the manufacturing of elastomeric resins with high solids loading and print fidelity, and to optimize propellant performance and mechanical integrity. Dr. Zander has been collaborating with the US Marine Corps for the past 3 years, and was an Innovation Challenge winner for the concept of using plastic waste to generate feedstock for expeditionary additive manufacturing. The resulting program focused on developing suitable additive manufacturing feedstocks from plastic waste and indigenous materials, as well as building a prototype expeditionary laboratory to enable plastic recycling in theatre. The team plans to send the mobile lab to the fleet in Fy21. The team was recently awarded 3 Navy SBIRs to fabricate the next-generation version of the prototype mobile laboratory. Dr. Zander has received significant media coverage on this program with 9 media interviews, and her team’s research has been discussed on over 30 websites.

Dr. Zander received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the St. Olaf College, and her Doctorate in Analytical Chemistry from University of Delaware. Her doctoral work was focused on the use of electrospun nanofibers to control neurite outgrowth via protein chemistry and contact-guidance. She is the author of over 40 publications and 2 book chapters.


September 8, 2020
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
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Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
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