Multi-Material Additive Manufacturing of Electrical Machines
As we strive to electrify our transportation system to curtail global warming, we are struggling to come up with new motor designs that have required power densities and efficiencies as well as methods of manufacturing these new designs. On the one hand, current electric motor manufacturing uses a long multi-step process chain that is not environmentally friendly, and significantly limits the design possibilities. On the other hand, new electric motor design ideas cannot be realized with the existing manufacturing methods. This project aims at solving this problem by conducting fundamental research needed to achieve one-step manufacturing of electric motors using multi-material 3D printing. It will leverage new knowledge about the laser-based powder bed fusion process, microstructure control using machine learning, and complex 3D electric motor design to build winding-free, ultra-efficient, and ultra-light electric motors with little to no need for rare-earth permanent magnets. If successful, the results of this project will re-shape the landscape of electric machines and bring about a new design and manufacturing paradigm that will help accelerate the carbon footprint reduction in transportation.
Frank Pfefferkorn, professor of mechanical engineering
Buzz Rankouhi, postdoc in mechanical engineering
Eric Severson, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering
Dan Thoma, professor of materials science and engineering