LEAP-HI/GOALI: DfAM of Smart Materials Using a Machine Learning Approach

Project: Research project

Project Details


This Leading Engineering for America's Prosperity, Health, and Infrastructure (LEAP-HI) / Grant Opportunity for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) project addresses the complex technical challenge of automated design and additive manufacturing (AM) of customized smart materials and devices. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is a layer-wise approach to manufacturing that is rapidly becoming a viable method for large scale production. The medical device industry, in particular, stands to benefit from AM through manufacture of customizable devices for particular patients, diseases, and/or stages of healing. The project advances AM by developing the ability to print 'smart' materials that can change shape in response to external stimuli. The technical challenges are motivated by a medical device industry need identified by the industrial partner, Actuated Medical Incorporated (AMI), for patient-specific adaptive devices that are capable of actively changing their shape at periodic intervals as the patient's needs change. The active polymer materials developed as part of the project are printed in a single AM process and will provide customized multifunctional devices with fully integrated actuation to advance the state of the art in patient-specific medical devices.

The intellectual merit of the researched work resides in the convergence of distinct, yet related and mutually beneficial, areas: smart materials, design, additive manufacturing, and industrial scale-up and integration. Despite the evolution of AM technologies and the ever-expanding growth of smart materials, including printable ones, few researchers have demonstrated the 3D printing of multifunctional multi-material structures and devices. The project addresses this gap in knowledge through the integration of processing, modeling, design and characterization, and by investigating the complex interactions between multiple foci. The technical contributions are: (1) development of functionally graded thermoset polymers with customized shape memory and magneto-mechanical response capabilities, and (2) development of a novel AM fabrication process that is capable of conformal printing and functional grading of multiple materials. In collaboration with the industrial partner, the investigators will develop appropriate performance and fabrication requirements and scale up the research results through direct involvement of students and faculty at the industry partner's facility, while accounting for regulatory requirements.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date1/10/172/28/23


  • National Science Foundation: $500,000.00


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