5001.002.002.002 Metal Lattice Design, Testing, and Application Study

Lattice variable illustration and lattice to skin design variables that are being investigated for the mechanical performance of the lattice to skin transition.


Complex cellular and lattice structures are an exciting field of materials development offering revolutionary opportunities in medical devices, light-weighting, and impact protection. The design freedoms offered by additive manufacturing (AM) are uniquely suited for producing lattice structures. There has been a synergistic development cycle between the lattice design and AM communities, but there is an unmet need to understand how the lattice structure integrates with surrounding skin or thin wall material.


The objective of this program is to establish best practices to successfully design and integrate metal lattice structures with a part boundary region such as a thin wall or skin material. A further objective is to develop a design and testing toolkit to enable designers to make better informed and higher performing parts and devices that utilize lattice structures.

Technical Approach

The Ohio State University (OSU) is leading the technical effort which includes 3Degrees, Elementum, and Lockheed Martin. The researchers are exploring a range of geometric parameters which influence that transition region. Tensile specimens are being designed and simulated using nTopology, building off work previously performed by OSU’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) on another America Makes project (Tensile Behavior of AM Lattice Stuctures). The best-performing designs are being printed on the CDME’s Concept Laser M2 using the Elementum A7050 aluminum material. Mechanical testing of these samples is being performed at the OSU Dynamic Mechanics of Materials Laboratory (DMML) using 3D Digital Image Correlation (DIC) and other methods. The results of the testing are then used to design and print a demonstration component relevant to industry applications. All project data is being managed for implementation with 3Degrees TRACEam software.

Project Participants

Project Principal

Other Project Participants

  • 3Degrees
  • Elementum
  • Lockheed Martin

Public Participants

  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Project Summary

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