Our Research

The P2AM2 lab (formely the NAIN lab) has focused its research endeavours on the triangular interactions between powder metallurgy (PM), rapid solidification welding and additive manufacturing (AM) to develop new materials and manufacturing schemes.

Additive Manufacturing to enable advanced materials manufacture

Prof. Brochu’s research team has been investigating the applicability of pulsed energy delivery to reach enhanced control over thermal and thermo-mechanical phenomena during AM processing. The group has developed unique expertise in influencing the solidification behaviour facilitating AM of unweldable materials and/or materials with different grain structure. The team specializes in powder bed fusion applications, but directed energy deposition (DED) processing is also included in our research portfolio. Our research continues to push the frontier of AM manufacturing for more demanding applications.

Powder engineering for powder metallurgy and additive manufacturing

The fabrication of high performance and reliable components from metal powder is directly linked to its sintering or melting behavior, for which the powder surface quality is of prime importance. The expertise acquired over the last 10 years in our lab have been adopted in lab-scale and industrial-scale powder fabrication and milling schemes. Our expertise relating powder surface chemistry with manufacturing merges with the AM field, where additional consideration of laser-particle surface interactions, particle-to-particle and particle-environment interactions during motion, tribo-charging etc, is included with the particle extrinsic, intrinsic and surface properties.

Metal powder sintering

One key step in the manufacturing of materials from powders, either the powder metallurgy, binder jetting or fused deposition modeling of metallic powders filled filaments is the sintering step. Prof. Brochu’s team have been involved for over 15 years in research activities related to the optimisation of parameters such as heating rate, sintering temperature and time, sintering environment to name a few. Over the years, a series of densification models were developed and are routinely used in the design and implementation of sintering schemes.

Alloy development for rapid solidification conditions

Prof. Brochu’s team has been involved in the field of alloy development for rapid solidification for over a decade. The group has worked on approaches to alter and control the primary solidification phase and further control the precipitation during heat treatment to develop high strength and high stability materials. Another research domain involves the development of alloys possessing higher terminal liquid volume fraction that is then transformed into high temperature phases by optimised heat treatments. Our non-equilibrium thermodynamic modelling is strengthened by rapid calorimetry experiments.

Field Assisted Powder Sintering

The research team is studying the densification of various nanostructured and conventional metal alloy powders under rapid heating conditions in pressureless and pressure-assisted processes. The main objective is to maximize the mechanical properties while controlling the sintered grain size. The research efforts include modeling, where densification models and distortion prediction were developed and experimentally validated using dilatometric study through to industrial scale furnace trials. The efforts are focusing on powder metallurgy and sintering of additive components. Our lab was the host of the first SPS press in Canada.

Rapid solidification welding processes

Prof. Brochu’s team have studied a series of rapid solidification welding processes including micro-laser welding, micro-arc welding and electrospark deposition to capture their benefits in microstructure control. These welding processes can reach cooling rates reported to range up to 10^5-10^10 K/min. Several advanced materials including bulk metallic glasses and ultra-fine grained materials were studied with the goal of maintaining similar grain structures and characteristics in the weld zone as in the parent material.