BonD-Northwest: Bonding on Demand - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Ultrasonic consolidation is a type of 3D printing that harnesses sound waves to join metals and other materials in a low temperature process. PNNL has developed a method for ultrasonic consolidation that lets us build complex solid metal structures with a “nervous system” of embedded sensors and electronics that can monitor the health and security of a component or part. For example, a sensor built into an automotive or structural component could be used to make sure the manufacturing process met quality standards and remain in the part to be used for health monitoring over its lifetime. We have developed and patented (pending) the sensor configurations and algorithms that allow us to join mixed materials under varying conditions. Our technology will improve ultrasonic consolidation so that it can be used to reliably make complex composite parts that are lighter, smarter, more connected, and safer. This advanced manufacturing technology could be used to make new smart materials and lightweight materials for cars, batteries, and other applications.