Effect of Surface Finish and Post-Processing on the Fatigue Life of Additively Manufacturing Parts
Navy SBIR 2018.2 - Topic N182-126
ONR - Ms. Lore-Anne Ponirakis - loreanne.ponirakis@navy.mil
Opens: May 22, 2018 - Closes: June 20, 2018 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Effect of Surface Finish and Post-Processing on the Fatigue Life of Additively Manufacturing Parts


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Quality Metal Additive Manufacturing (QUALITY MADE)

OBJECTIVE: Develop a surface finishing process that can efficiently post-process additively manufactured metallic components to a consistent finish while enhancing material properties and part performance.

DESCRIPTION: Metal additive manufacturing (AM) is increasingly being considered for use on Marine Corps platforms and for parts with increasing complexity, strength, and performance requirements. The 3-dimensional layered construction, variations in powder bed heights across the bed, and other factors like the Marangoni effect due to surface tension gradients may cause marked surface roughness, which affects the resulting part performance [Ref 1]. Additionally, AM processes allow designers to break free from traditional design constraints and optimize the part topology, leading to parts with less material and greater complexity. The wider adoption of AM may be limited by the surface finish being produced by the various AM techniques and the extent of post-processing required after fabrication. The ability to control the surface finish is a function of the AM technique used, the manufacturing process parameters, material, geometry of the part, direction the part is oriented during the build, and the post-processing techniques utilized.

Currently, the conventional post-processing machining and surface polishing and other best practices being performed are laboriously expensive and high-risk when dealing with the highly complex geometries and shapes associated with AM. High cycle fatigue requires surface finishes of 0.2-µm or 8-µin as defined in ASTM E466 Appendix X1 and may be achieved through hand finishing [Ref 9]. The surface finish is especially of concern as advanced topology optimization strategies involve reducing excess material to retain only a complicated “spider web”-like structure where mechanical properties and part performance require it, limiting the accessibility to reach and access key areas for the desired surface finish through conventional methods. Topology optimization frequently results in hard to reach surfaces that further necessitate technology advancements. Further, it has been demonstrated that current techniques affect the endurance, strength, and fatigue limits in additively manufactured parts [Ref 2]. There is a growing concern that current post-processing techniques negatively impact mechanical properties in these complex regions. Additionally, post-processing for surface finish plays a key role in uncertainty quantification (UQ) of mechanical properties and is used in empirical modeling of the parts/processes. These factors point to the growing need in the Navy and Marine Corps to simultaneously reduce the cost of post-processing while maintaining or enhancing material and part performance with post processing technologies.

The ability to control manufacturing process parameters to better enhance surface finish for deposited materials are being addressed by other efforts, such as the Office of Naval Research (ONR)’s Quality Metal Additive Manufacturing program, but the need to enhance surface finish may always be required. This SBIR topic is specifically seeking novel technologies that efficiently post-process additively manufactured parts to improve the surface finish of complex additively manufactured parts while minimizing any negative impacts of post-processing. Naval materials of interest include titanium, aluminum, nickel, aluminum, bronze, and stainless steel alloys.

PHASE I: Report on the fatigue life and impact of surface finishing on additively manufactured alloys of interest to the Navy / Marine Corps (e.g., Al alloys, Ti-6Al-4V, 316L). Develop concepts for a new post-processing technology on AM surface finishes and fatigue life. Demonstrate the technical feasibility of a process to reliably deliver a uniform surface finish on AM components. During Phase I, ONR will provide exemplar 3D models and/or parts to guide Phase II development. Develop a Phase II plan.

PHASE II: Based on Phase I results and guidance in preparation for Phase II, mature proposed post-processing technologies for AM alloy parts of interest to the Navy / Marine Corps manufactured using powder bed fusion and/or directed energy deposition techniques. Using a design of experiments approach for exemplar technology optimized parts [Ref 8], collect sufficient experimental results to develop an empirical model and UQ that can predict fatigue life based on post-processing surface treatment and mechanical loading.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Marine Corps and Navy in transitioning the technology for use in intermediate- and depot-level maintenance to deliver required surface finish features. Mature and support a rapid process to assist in the qualification and certification of additively manufactured parts through understanding and UQ of reliability frameworks. Simultaneously explore the numerous dual use applications requiring surface finishing for AM in industries such as aerospace, automobile manufacturing, medical implants, and weapon manufacturing.


1. Townsend, A., Senin, N., Blunt, L., Leach, R.K., Taylor, J.S.  Surface texture metrology for metal additive manufacturing: a review,
Precision Engineering, 46, October 2016, pp. 34-47, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0141635916300721

2. Sames, W. J., List, F. A., Pannala, S., Dehoff, R. R., & Babu, S. S. The metallurgy and processing science of metal additive manufacturing. International Materials Reviews, 61, March 7, 2016, pp. 315-360,

3. Bagehorn, S., Wehr, J., & Maier, H. J.  Application of mechanical surface finishing processes for roughness reduction and fatigue improvement of additively manufactured Ti-6Al-4V parts. International Journal of Fatigue, 102, September 01, 2017, pp. 135-142. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0142112317302153

4. Ma, C., Andani, M. T., Qin, H., Moghaddam, N. S., Ibrahim, H., Jahadakbar, A., Amerinatanzi, A., ... Ye, C. Improving surface finish and wear resistance of additive manufactured nickel-titanium by ultrasonic nano-crystal surface modification. Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 249, November 01, 2017, pp. 433-440.

5. Mohammadian, N., Turenne, S., & Brailovski, V.. Surface finish control of additively-manufactured Inconel 625 components using combined chemical-abrasive flow polishing. Journal of Materials Processing Tech, 252, February 01, 2018, pp. 728-738. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924013617304697

6. Alfieri, V., Argenio, P., Caiazzo, F., & Sergi, V. Reduction of surface roughness by means of laser processing over additive manufacturing metal parts. Materials, 10(1), January 2017, 30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5344551/

7. Townsend, A., Senin, N., Blunt, L., Leach, R. K., & Taylor, J. S. Surface texture metrology for metal additive manufacturing: a review. Precision Engineering, 46, October 2016, pp. 34-47. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0141635916300721

8. Example topology optimized part, http://www.insidemetaladditivemanufacturing.com/blog/design-for-slm-topology-optimisation-of-metallic-structural-nodes-in-architecture-applications, Accessed February 2018

9. ASTM E466-15, Standard Practice for Conducting Force Controlled Constant Amplitude Axial Fatigue Tests of Metallic Materials, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, https://www.astm.org/Standards/E466.htm

KEYWORDS: Additive Manufacturing; AM; Surface Finish; Post-processing; 3D Printing; Material Science; Metallurgy


Billy Short





Jennifer Wolk





These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2018.2 SBIR BAA. The DoD issued its 2018.2 BAA SBIR pre-release on April 20, 2018, which opens to receive proposals on May 22, 2018, and closes June 20, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET.

Between April 20, 2018 and May 21, 2018 you may talk directly with the Topic Authors (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the topics. During these dates, their contact information is listed above. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is not allowed starting May 22, 2018
when DoD begins accepting proposals for this BAA.
However, until June 6, 2018, proposers may still submit written questions about solicitation topics through the DoD's SBIR/STTR Interactive Topic Information System (SITIS), in which the questioner and respondent remain anonymous and all questions and answers are posted electronically for general viewing until the solicitation closes. All proposers are advised to monitor SITIS during the Open BAA period for questions and answers and other significant information relevant to their SBIR/STTR topics of interest.

Topics Search Engine: Visit the DoD Topic Search Tool at sbir.defensebusiness.org/topics/ to find topics by keyword across all DoD Components participating in this BAA.

Proposal Submission: All SBIR/STTR Proposals must be submitted electronically through the DoD SBIR/STTR Electronic Submission Website, as described in the Proposal Preparation and Submission of Proposal sections of the program Announcement.

Help: If you have general questions about DoD SBIR program, please contact the DoD SBIR Help Desk at 800-348-0787 or via email at sbirhelp@bytecubed.com