AM for EnergyAM ResearchNuclear Energy

$250,000 awarded to research AM nuclear reactor components

The federal funding was awarded to Sougata Roy from the University of North Dakota (UND)

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According to an article written by Adam Kurtz of the University of North Dakota (UND), Sougata Roy, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UND has received $250,000 in federal funding to research new manufacturing methods for components used in nuclear reactors. The research will focus on how additive manufacturing processes can be used to make nuclear reactor components.

The project will make use of nitrogen-strengthened austenitic steel, which will function as the feedstock for the manufacturing process. Once completed, those components will undergo an in-depth investigation into their functionality versus traditionally manufactured components. Funding for the project, where he will serve as principal investigator, was awarded through the National Science Foundation.

“Different research groups are trying to make the components using additive manufacturing,” said Sougata Roy. “Conventionally, these components are made through casting or wrought-iron forging, but you cannot tweak the mechanical properties or the microstructure properly. In additive manufacturing, we have a lot more grip on that.”

Brian Tande, dean of the UND College of Engineering and Mines, said the college has recently made investments to expand work in materials science and advanced manufacturing.

“I’m excited that this new award will add even more capabilities to the college and support the important work of Dr. Roy, one of our talented new faculty members,” said Brian Tande, dean of the College of Engineering and Mines at UND. “This work will lead to advancements in metal additive manufacturing and has the potential to contribute to UND’s research efforts in energy and national security.”

Previously, Sougata Roy received a grant from the US Department of Defense to study the potential of additive manufacturing for large components to be used on naval vessels. He is also currently leading two other AM projects funded by NASA.

The project’s part fabrication and preliminary material characterization will take place at UND, and further analysis will be conducted using neutron diffraction at Spallation Neutron Source of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee. Sougata Roy and a doctoral student from his research group at UND will spend the summers of 2024 and 2025 at ORNL.

Along with the manufacturing process, testing of the components will focus on the high-temperature tribological properties of the components. Tribology is the science of friction, wear, and lubrication – which Sougata Roy reportedly said is an inseparable field to surface engineering. This project will explore the relationships between AM, surface engineering, and tribology – areas in which he has extensive research experience.

“I have been working on these three areas for the previous 13 years, and now I get the opportunity to utilize my interdisciplinary experience in a single project through this NSF award,” said Sougata Roy.

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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