America Makes and Air Force Research Laboratory Announce an Additive Manufacturing Modeling Challenge Series

November 25, 2019 | Categories: America Makes News

Goal of the AFRL AM Challenge Series is to Predict the Internal Structure and Resultant Performance of Metallic Components Produced by AM

Youngstown, Ohio — November 25, 2019. America Makes and Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials & Manufacturing Directorate Structural Materials, Metals Branch (AFRL/RXCM), proudly announce an additive manufacturing (AM) Modeling Challenge Series, comprised of four individual Challenges, with $150K to be divided among awardees.

The AFRL AM Modeling Challenge Series represents another innovative approach America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, and AFRL are taking to advance the AM industry. By challenging the brightest minds from industry and academia, the AFRL AM Modeling Challenge Series will be influential in the development of solutions focused on validating/improving the accuracy of model predictions for metal AM.

The goal of the AFRL AM Challenge Series is to make high-pedigree calibration data sets available to modelers to use in the calibration of the developed models as it directly relates to predicting the internal structure and resultant performance of AM metallic components.

“We are excited that the AFRL AM Modeling Challenge Series is now underway,” said America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski. “The implications of the AFRL AM Modeling Challenge Series on the AM modeling and simulation area are substantial. We are optimistic that the Challenge Series will significantly improve the predictability and accuracy of models and simulations and the qualification of AM processes and materials.”


The AFRL AM Modeling Challenge Series seeks to account for material heterogeneity intelligently through geometry-sensitive property prediction at both the micro- and macro-structure level. Models and simulations that can accurately account for this type of variability can be utilized by the AM design process and may be critical when designing complex parts with thin features. The material, INCONEL® nickel-chromium alloy 625 (IN625), was used across all four Challenges as it is relevant to aerospace applications due to its corrosion resistance, elevated temperature performance, excellent fatigue, and thermal-fatigue properties.

Challenge participants will be asked to develop models and algorithms that produce dynamic material property prediction module(s), sensitive to geometry and local processing state.

As with all America Makes research and development projects, the AFRL AM Challenge Series directly relates to the America Makes Technology Roadmap, aligning to the AM Genome swimlane. The AM Genome swimlane was created to drive disruptive pervasive technologies that change paradigms, such as moving from serial processes to fully concurrent computationally enabled ones. This swimlane is the home for infrastructure technologies (access to open material property data, modular open simulation frameworks, multi-scale data management and sharing, etc.) and cross-cutting pervasive technologies (physics-based modeling and simulation methods, computer-aided materials development or ICME, more efficient material characterization and property prediction methods, etc.) that enable concurrent processes to be realized.


AFRL AM Challenge Series problems are open to academia, small and large businesses, and national laboratories, both in the U.S. and internationally. Data packages will be publicly released by AFRL and made available to participants.

Visit the AFRL AM Challenge Series Web page for more details regarding the challenge, including Challenge problem statements, calibration data, logistics, grading, schedules, submission templates, and more.


All questions related to the challenge and the data provided should be directed to Marie Cox, Ph.D., Materials Research Engineer, AFRL/RXC Metals Branch at

For more information about America Makes or how to become a member, please visit the America Makes Web site at Follow us on Twitter @AmericaMakes.


About America Makes

Driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. As the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) based in Youngstown, Ohio, America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. Comprised of member organizations from industry, academia, government, non-government agencies, and workforce and economic development resources, the America Makes membership community is working together to innovate and accelerate AM to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness. America Makes is the first of eight Manufacturing Innovation Institutes established and program managed by the U.S. Department of Defense as public-private partnerships. America Makes is also a member of the Manufacturing USA® network, which seeks to secure U.S. global leadership in advanced manufacturing. For more information about America Makes, visit and follow @AmericaMakes on Twitter.


NCDMM delivers innovative and collaborative manufacturing solutions that enhance our nation’s workforce and economic competitiveness. NCDMM has extensive knowledge and depth in manufacturing areas—both commercial and defense—to continually innovate, improve, and advance manufacturing technologies and methodologies. Our experienced team specializes in identifying the needs, the players, the technologies, and processes to attain optimal solutions for our customers. We connect the dots. That’s the NCDMM methodology. NCDMM also manages the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing (3DP), America Makes—the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. For additional information, visit the NCDMM at and follow @NCDMMnews on Twitter.

About Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

AFRL leads the discovery, development and delivery of warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace forces. AFRL is headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, home to the Wright brothers and recognized as the birth place of aviation. AFRL is comprised of Technology Directorates, Functional Directorates, 711th Human Performance Wing and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. For more information about AFRL, visit

About AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate

Materials and Manufacturing Directorate develops materials, processes, and advanced manufacturing technologies for aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets, and ground-based systems and their structural, electronic and optical components. Air Force product centers, logistic centers, and operating commands rely on the directorate’s expertise in materials, nondestructive inspection, systems support, and advanced manufacturing methods to solve system, expeditionary deployment, and operational challenges.

AFRL/RXC – Structural Materials Division

The Structural Materials Division plans, conducts, and directs in-house and extramural research and development of materials technologies with an emphasis on structural applications.  The division works collaboratively with other divisions and external organizations to develop, mature and transition the highest priority products needed by the Air Force. It works to transition functional materials to legacy, developmental and future Air Force system components to provide increased system performance and efficiency, reduce cost, and accelerate manufacture.

AFRL/RXCM – Metals Branch

The Metals Branch plans, conducts, and directs in-house and extramural research and development of metallic materials technologies for legacy, developmental and future Air Force system components. It maintains the directorate’s competency to understand and connect the processing, structure, property, and performance paradigm needed for metallic materials development.