Lightweight Metal Cellular Structures Fabricated via 3D Printing of Sand Cast Molds

Dean Snelling, Qian Li, Nicolas Meisel, Christopher B. Williams, Romesh C. Batra, Alan P. Druschitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Cellular structures offer high specific strength and can offer high specific stiffness, good impact absorption, and thermal and acoustic insulation. A major challenge in fabricating cellular structures is joining various components. It is well known that joints, either welded or bolted or bonded with an adhesive, serve as stress concentrators. Here, we overcome this shortcoming by the use of metal casting into 3D printed sand molds for fabricating cellular structures and sandwich panels. Furthermore, the use of 3D printing allows for the fabrication of sand molds without the need for a pattern, and thus enables the creation of cellular structures with designed mesostructure from a bevy of metal alloys. We use the finite element method to numerically analyze the energy absorption capabilities of an octet truss cellular structure created with the proposed manufacturing process and that of a solid block of the same material and area density as the cellular structure. In the numerical simulations, mechanical properties collected through experimental quasi-static compression testing are employed. It is found that indeed the cellular structure absorbs considerably more impact energy over that absorbed by a solid structure of the same weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-932
Number of pages10
JournalAdvanced Engineering Materials
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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