L. Salari-Sharif, S.W. Godfrey, M. Tootkaboni, L. Valdevit
Additive Manufacturing 19 (2018) 51-61
Publication year: 2018


Hollow microlattices constitute a model topology for architected materials, as they combine excellent specific stiffness and strength with relative ease of manufacturing. The most scalable manufacturing technique to date encompasses fabrication of a sacrificial polymeric template by the Self Propagating Photopolymer Waveguide (SPPW) process, followed by thin film coating and removal of the substrate. Accurate modeling of mechanical properties (e.g., stiffness, strength) of hollow microlattices is challenging, primarily due to the complex stress state around the hollow nodes and the existence of manufacturing-induced geometric imperfections (e.g. cracks, non-circularity, etc.). In this work, we use a variety of measuring techniques (SEM imaging, CT scanning, etc.) to characterize the geometric imperfections in a nickel-based ultralight hollow microlattice and investigate their effect on the compressive strength of the lattice. At the strut level, where a more quantitative description of geometric defects is available, the gathered data is used to build a stochastic field model of geometric imperfections using Proper Orthogonal Decomposition. Using Monte Carlo simulations, the critical buckling loads of a large set of imperfect bars created using the stochastic model are then extracted by Finite Elements Analysis. The statistics of the buckling strength in artificially generated bars is then used to explain the scatter in the strength of CT-derived bars and its correlation with the lattice strength measured experimentally. Although the quantitative results are specific to microlattices fabricated by SPPW templating, the methodology presented herein is equally applicable to architected materials produced by other manufacturing processes.