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Simulating Reality: Going Beyond Counting Pores and Cracks in Additive-Manufactured Parts

There are several options available for fabricating industrial parts, including additive manufacturing (AM) and subtractive manufacturing (SM). During AM, layers of material are successfully generated in order to build a physical object. This process is often referred to as 3D printing. By contrast, SM removes material sections through machining and cutting processes; for example, through computer numerical control (CNC) machining. AM processes are typically used in product design and prototyping, where smaller, or more intricate, components are needed. These components are typically made using materials such as plastic, polymers, ceramic, or metal, and, depending on the application, manufacturing is scalable to different industrial requirements. By contrast, SM is a more manual process that is better suited to larger metal parts. The range of AM technologies is classified into several categories, including binder jetting, material jetting, direct energy deposition, sheet laminations, material extrusion, powder bed fusion, and vat photo-polymerization. Each category includes several different processes; for example, an incomplete list includes stereolithography (SLA) and selective laser sintering (SLS) for polymers and composites, and selective laser melting (SLM), binder jet (BJAM), and electron beam powder bed (EBM) for metals. A detailed explanation of these processes is beyond the scope of this article; however, interested readers can refer to a paper published in Materials Evaluation for an overview of the various techniques used in AM (Hassan and Kirka 2018).


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