Submissions Due by 5pm ET on Friday, October 30, 2020 

Rapid Innovation Call

Tensile Behavior of AM Lattice Structures Project Call

America Makes is proud to announce its first Government Driven Rapid Innovation Call. Additive manufacturing of metal lattice structures presents a unique opportunity to tailor product performance and weight.  Hence, lattice structures have been considered for various automotive, medical, aerospace, energy, and defense applications.  While these complex geometric features offer another beneficial dimension of design freedom, qualification of products which incorporate these features can be financially belabored with trial and error approaches at the full component or sub-element scales due to a lack of sufficient tools and methods to assess lattice structure mechanical performance.  There exists an unaddressed need to develop and validate test coupon designs and methods which facilitate quantifying the intrinsic mechanical behavior of additively manufactured metal lattice structures.

Approaches should systematically address and eliminate sources of potential or known variation for the tensile testing of metal laser powder bed fusion lattice structures.  Proposers are encouraged to consider tensile testing of 316 stainless steel, Ti-6Al-4V, or both materials.  It is envisioned that outcomes from a successful effort will mitigate sources of variation for the measurement of lattice structure tensile properties.

One-Step Proposal Process

The proposal process for this America Makes Project Call is a one-step non-traditional process:

A full project proposal, as outlined in the RFP, is due by 5 p.m. EDT Friday, October 30, 2020. 

Dates/Deadlines:

Project Call Announcement and Posting 10/13/2020
Overview/Webinar at America Makes MMX 10/13/2020
Questions from Proposers about Scope or Approach Due 10/20/2020
Responses to Proposers about Scope or Approach Due

(All questions and responses will be shared with all proposers on this web page.)

10/23/2020
Deadline for all team members to be an America Makes Member 10/23/2020
Fully Executed NDA with NCDMM (if proposal contains proprietary information) 10/23/2020
Full Project Proposal Submission Due Date 10/30/2020
Anticipated Decision and Selection of Projects 11/16/2020
Anticipated Date to have ALL Projects on Contract 12/07/2020
All project finalized reports and deliverables received by NCDMM no later than End of proposed period of performance

Rapid Innovation Call Questions & Answers

1. Are there particular types of lattice structure designs that this project is more interested in? There are relatively few design rules for unit cell topologies, but there could still be a large number of basic unit cell geometries that can be designed based on these rules. If there are some particular designs that are of more interest to practical applications, then it might be more efficient to focus on some of them.
2. Does the project consider the potential use of modeling analysis for the assistance of analyzing quality variability of the lattice structures a useful addition?
3. Does the project anticipate any conclusions regarding the optimality of geometrical and process design selections (e.g. optimization via design of experimentation), or analysis results with the identification of significant quality variability factors combined with theoretical explanations?
4. Does the project emphasize more on the understanding of the sources of variabilities of lattice structure characteristics, or the collection of high-quality experimental data points that could serve as the database for near-term design application, or a compromise of both? Due to the large number of factors that could affect the characteristics of lattice structures, the design factors (e.g. geometry, process, feedstock) and the process stochasticity (e.g. repetition number) might form some trade-off conflict.
5. Given that these innovation calls have smaller budget, timeline, and scope, is it more acceptable for a single entity to propose something to this Call without partners if that entity is still fully equipped to execute the proposed tasks?
6. Is the cell geometry something that needs to be predesigned before the start of the project? I don’t have access to all of the REQ’s yet but I am hoping that I will have access in the next two days. My understanding of the open call is that those submitting proposals will need to have a task to design the tensile specimen for testing. Is this correct? Are we allowed to use existing software programs to generate the lattice structures such as nTopology or NX additive tools?
1. Are there particular types of lattice structure designs that this project is more interested in? There are relatively few design rules for unit cell topologies, but there could still be a large number of basic unit cell geometries that can be designed based on these rules. If there are some particular designs that are of more interest to practical applications, then it might be more efficient to focus on some of them.

No explicit unit cell topology is defined in the RFP.  Proposers may choose to develop an understanding of how to scale a test coupon to match a given unit cell design (ie so no partial lattices on an edge), minimum repeating units for each design, and/ or to apply stochastic designs to the coupon(s) could be addressed.

2. Does the project consider the potential use of modeling analysis for the assistance of analyzing quality variability of the lattice structures a useful addition?

This funding opportunity is focused on addressing the need for test coupon geometries which readily facilitate the assessment of additively manufactured metal lattice structure geometries under tensile loading.  Proposers should convey a technical approach which fulfills this need by demonstrating and documenting meaningful progress to develop and validate a test geometry and method.  It is envisioned that outcomes from a successful effort will mitigate sources of variation for the measurement of lattice structure tensile properties.  Proposers are encouraged to assess 316 stainless steel or Ti-6Al-4V titanium alloys or both.  It is envisioned but not required that a successful effort may substantiate the transferability of methods and tools for both alloys.  A variety of technical approaches to addressing this need exist.  Proposals should clearly explain why the approach exhibits a high likelihood of success and is valuable/significant.  Proposals should identify, quantify, and explain Key Performance Parameters for demonstrating progress compared to a baseline and establishing measurable success criteria for the project.  Proposals should clearly describe the project tasks in narrative form and the practicality of achieving the project goals as planned and on time.  Contract extensions are expressly prohibited, so all Proposers should carefully consider scope, risks, and necessary level of effort.

3. Does the project anticipate any conclusions regarding the optimality of geometrical and process design selections (e.g. optimization via design of experimentation), or analysis results with the identification of significant quality variability factors combined with theoretical explanations?

It is envisioned that outcomes from a successful effort will mitigate sources of variation for the measurement of lattice structure tensile properties.  Proposals should clearly explain why the approach exhibits a high likelihood of success and is valuable/significant.  Proposers should convey a technical approach which fulfills this need by demonstrating and documenting meaningful progress to develop and validate a test geometry and method.

4. Does the project emphasize more on the understanding of the sources of variabilities of lattice structure characteristics, or the collection of high-quality experimental data points that could serve as the database for near-term design application, or a compromise of both? Due to the large number of factors that could affect the characteristics of lattice structures, the design factors (e.g. geometry, process, feedstock) and the process stochasticity (e.g. repetition number) might form some trade-off conflict.

It is envisioned that outcomes from a successful effort will mitigate one or several source(s) of variation for the measurement of lattice structure tensile properties.  Proposals should clearly explain why the approach exhibits a high likelihood of success and is valuable/significant.  Proposers should convey a technical approach which fulfills this need by demonstrating and documenting meaningful progress to develop and validate a test geometry and method.  Proposers are encouraged to assess 316 stainless steel or Ti-6Al-4V titanium alloys or both.  It is envisioned but not required that a successful effort may substantiate the transferability of methods and tools for both alloys.

5. Given that these innovation calls have smaller budget, timeline, and scope, is it more acceptable for a single entity to propose something to this Call without partners if that entity is still fully equipped to execute the proposed tasks?

It is envisioned that outcomes from a successful effort will mitigate one or several source(s) of variation for the measurement of lattice structure tensile properties.  Proposals should clearly explain why the approach exhibits a high likelihood of success and is valuable/significant.  Proposers should convey a technical approach which fulfills this need by demonstrating and documenting meaningful progress to develop and validate a test geometry and method.  Proposers are encouraged to assess 316 stainless steel or Ti-6Al-4V titanium alloys or both.  It is envisioned but not required that a successful effort may substantiate the transferability of methods and tools for both alloys.

6. Is the cell geometry something that needs to be predesigned before the start of the project? I don’t have access to all of the REQ’s yet but I am hoping that I will have access in the next two days. My understanding of the open call is that those submitting proposals will need to have a task to design the tensile specimen for testing. Is this correct? Are we allowed to use existing software programs to generate the lattice structures such as nTopology or NX additive tools?

This funding opportunity is focused on addressing the need for testing coupon geometries which readily facilitate the assessment of additively manufactured metal lattice structure geometries under tensile loading.  Proposers should convey a technical approach which fulfills this need by demonstrating and documenting meaningful progress to develop and validate a test geometry and method.  It is envisioned that outcomes from a successful effort will mitigate sources of variation for the measurement of lattice structure tensile properties.  Proposers are encouraged to assess 316 stainless steel or Ti-6Al-4V titanium alloys or both.  It is envisioned but not required that a successful effort may substantiate the transferability of methods and tools for both alloys.  A variety of technical approaches to addressing this need exist.  Proposals should clearly explain why the approach exhibits a high likelihood of success and is valuable/significant.  Proposals should identify, quantify, and explain Key Performance Parameters for demonstrating progress compared to a baseline and establishing measurable success criteria for the project.  Proposals should clearly describe the project tasks in narrative form and the practicality of achieving the project goals as planned and on time.  Contract extensions are expressly prohibited, so all Proposers should carefully consider scope, risks, and necessary level of effort.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Which members of the team need to be America Makes Members?
2. Can a team submit more than on Project Proposal?
3. How do teams ask questions regarding scope and approach?
4. Can one of our partners be a non-U.S company?
5. When submitting detailed proposals will the approaches remain confidential, so as to not jeopardize future patent applications?
6. What level of detail needs to be provided when someone is declaring background IP?
7. Who owns IP that is produced as a result of this work (including matching funds from a commercial company)? If IP is owned by America Makes, is there a requirement that IP be licensed to members, and if so, what are the terms?
1. Which members of the team need to be America Makes Members?

All team members of project team must be America Makes members by 10/23/2020.

2. Can a team submit more than on Project Proposal?

Yes, teams may submit more than one Project Proposal.

3. How do teams ask questions regarding scope and approach?

Questions should be emailed to ric@americamakes.us. Questions will be posted to the America Makes website according to the schedule. Questions asked AFTER the scheduled Q&A session will NOT be addressed.

4. Can one of our partners be a non-U.S company?

Yes, but only if they are members by 10/23/2020. The approval process for foreign-owned entities can take up to 4 weeks to complete, so non-members would not have sufficient time to apply and be approved prior to this 10/23/2020 deadline.

Federal dollars cannot be spent outside of the United States. It is the Lead / team’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable export control laws and regulations.

5. When submitting detailed proposals will the approaches remain confidential, so as to not jeopardize future patent applications?

Yes.  The proposals will only be reviewed by the evaluation team and each team member signs a confidentiality agreement.

6. What level of detail needs to be provided when someone is declaring background IP?

The owning organization should list anything that they are leveraging that is not going to be made available to the membership at the completion of the project.  This could be a patent number or a description of the background IP that is being leveraged.

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