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Nesma Aboulkhair

University of Nottingham

Hot metal: How do we develop ‘colour’ metal printing?

Over the recent years, the pace of research and development in the field of additive manufacturing (AM) of metals has accelerated exponentially on many fronts. New technologies are emerging to target the demands for manufacturing complex metallic structures with intricate features to cater for various industrial sectors. The most commonly used methods to 3D print metals include powder bed fusion and beam deposition systems. Whilst they both have demonstrated offering amazing opportunities for fabricating components with unique degrees of freedom, in their current configurations these systems are very much limited to single material processing. However, to fully exploit the potential of additive manufacturing, it is essential to direct research efforts into the development of metal AM methods that can enable multi-material manufacturing. One of the avenues proposed in this study is droplet-on-demand manufacturing that enables fabricating structures pixel-by-pixel rather than the current metal AM state-of-the-art manufacturing, line-by-line. Here, we present a novel metal jetting technique that allows spatially-controlled deposition of dissimilar micron-sized droplets of high temperature conductive molten metals (>1000°C) into the same build volume to potentially 3D print multi-material metallic structures. Experimental validation of the technology using various metals is presented with studies on the consolidation and interfaces forming at distinctive printing parameters. The progression of this technology is expected to extend the capabilities of metal AM from manufacturing components to manufacturing devices.


Nesma is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Additive Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham. She has been working in the field of Additive Manufacturing since 2013, when she started her PhD in Materials Engineering and Materials Design at Nottingham. She has a good track record of scientific publications and funding. Her active research projects span across several metal additive manufacturing processes, including powder-based and droplet-on-demand. Coming from a mechanical engineering background, her research interests are mainly experimental with focus on materials processing, manufacturing, and characterisation for metallurgy and mechanical properties. In addition, she has growing interest in new materials for metal additive manufacturing.

Nesma is the president of the Early Career Researchers committee for the Association of Industrial Laser Users magazine. She is also involved in a range of outreach activities to raise the public’s awareness about Additive Manufacturing. She has been awarded numerous awards and honours, including the prestigious Anne McLaren Fellowship.


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