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Leading the way in additive manufacturing

By Jeremy Henderson

In five years, the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence (NCAME) has turned Auburn University into a premiere destination for additive manufacturing research. 

Founded in 2017 through a public-private partnership with NASA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NCAME is housed within the Gavin Engineering Research Laboratory, which is specifically dedicated to additive manufacturing of metals, polymers and composites. 

“NCAME conducts research on improving the performance of parts created using AM and shares research results with industry and government collaborators,” said NCAME Director Nima Shamsaei, the Philpott-WestPoint Stevens Distinguished Professor of mechanical engineering. 

A founding partner of the ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence, NCAME currently has more than 100 industry, government and academic collaborators, including Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, GE Additive, GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce and Carpenter. 

About 30 faculty members are involved in NCAME’s research activities, focused on five core strategic areas: structural integrity of AM materials; laser-material interactions and thermal aspects of AM; data analytics; digital manufacturing and AM cyber and physical security; and applications. 

During 2020 and 2021, NCAME established new partnerships with the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as the U.S. Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center and DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, which seek to investigate matters related to AM qualification and certification — one of the main challenges for widespread adoption of AM in safety critical applications.