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LLNL researchers developed intelligent feed forward (IFF) to accelerate the qualification and certification of additively manufactured parts during the laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) process; their ultimate goal is that once fabricated parts are completed, they could be used straight away without further testing.  Parameters of interest during the printing process include those for quantifying pore formations, spatter, local area temperature, liquid flow in the melt pool and other physical phenomena.  There is an outstanding need for cheap, scalable diagnostic tools for in-process inspection and flaw mitigation.  This invention describes one of these tools for monitoring electrical resistance.


Electrodes that measure current and voltage are connected to the LPBF build plate by magnetic metal arms.  These arms are placed on a steel weighted base that provides a high degree of mechanical flexibility to conform to small geometries and can be easily incorporated into a complex manufacturing system.  Furthermore, the electrodes are connected to tapered copper tips that can provide strong electrical connection to allow high current over a uniform area.  Using these electrodes, electrical resistance is measured; gaps in electrical conductivity in the printed parts would be indicative of possible cracks or voids in the printed part.


Value proposition:  Real-time in-situ monitoring of 3D printing process that reduces manufacturing costs.

Potential Applications

•    Laser powder bed fusion
•    Metal additive manufacturing
•    Electrical resistance tomography
•    Conductivity monitoring
•    In-situ diagnostics

Development Status

Current stage of technology development:  TRL 3 
LLNL has filed for patent protection on this invention.

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