Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) Capability for Large, Complex, Metallic Components

Navy STTR 23.B - Topic N23B-T033
NAVAIR - Naval Air Systems Command
Pre-release 4/19/23   Opens to accept proposals 5/17/23   Closes 6/14/23 12:00pm ET    [ View Q&A ]

N23B-T033 TITLE: Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) Capability for Large, Complex, Metallic Components

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Materials; Sustainment

OBJECTIVE: Develop the capability to additively manufacture large, high-complexity, high-criticality metallic parts using wire-fed directed energy deposition (DED) electron beam additive manufacturing (EBAM) and establish a qualification approach for these parts.

DESCRIPTION: Traditional manufacturing techniques used to produce large, high-complexity, high-criticality metallic parts involve significant cost and schedule investments related to machine time and material waste. Alternatively, these parts can be manufactured using wire-fed DED EBAM to create near-net fabrications to reduce final machine time, raw material lead time, and material waste. In addition to these part-specific benefits, developing this capability will impact readiness by reducing manufacturing lead times, as well as sustainment by producing difficult to acquire parts or part repairs. Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst is seeking innovative solutions to develop this capability through the material and process qualification and production of a large (~12 in. x 16 in. x 56 in. [30.48 cm x 40.64 cm x 142.24 cm]; ~400 lb [181.44 kg]) critical safety item (CSI) part belonging to the Aircraft Launch and Recovery (ALRE) Department made from a custom high-strength steel. Access to commercially available EBAM technology that can deposit steel wire feedstock and the ability to characterize the material properties of AM produced parts in order to develop an optimized parameter set resulting in repeatable mechanical properties for the selected part are required for this SBIR effort. The goal is to produce and test AM material in two stages. The initial stage of this initiative aims to produce an optimized parameter set for depositing custom high-strength steel with a wire-fed DED EBAM system. This will consist of initial bead on plate deposition trials, preliminary material analysis, larger volume depositions to optimize hatch spacing and layer height, coupon fabrication, and material property characterization. The intent of the second stage of this initiative is to apply the optimized parameter set to manufacture the near-net fabrication of the custom high-strength steel part. This will include the development of a process control document, toolpath generation, part deposition, final machining, establishment of qualification considerations, and Non-destructive Inspection/Non-destructive Testing (NDI/NDT) requirements, final part inspection and testing, coupon testing, and the documentation of all processes referenced here. The final deliverable will be a prototype part that meets the engineering requirements of the high-strength steel CSI ALRE part as well as the procedures and documentation required to establish a repeatable wire-fed DED EBAM process for manufacturing the part.

PHASE I: Develop optimized wire-fed DED EBAM process parameters for the targeted ALRE component using initial bead on plate trials and preliminary material analysis for the deposition of custom high-strength steel wire feedstock deposited onto a compatible substrate material (most likely made from the same alloy as the wire feedstock). The resulting plates will be sectioned and analyzed with respect to density, hardness, porosity, bead geometry, microstructure, adhesion, and visual defects. Once a suitable baseline parameter set is achieved, larger volume depositions will be required to optimize hatch spacing and layer height. These depositions will be designed to section, polish, and etch in order to determine porosity and grain structure. Further large volume depositions will be used to machine coupons that will be tested to determine the following mechanical properties: tensile strength, density, porosity, hardness, and thermal distortion. At the end of Phase I, an optimized and repeatable parameter set will be developed and demonstrated to meet the qualification test plan (QTP) requirements for the deposition of this custom high-strength steel. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.

PHASE II: Design and develop a near-net fabrication process based on the results of Phase I, for a large CSI ALRE part made from high-strength steel on a wire-fed DED EBAM system. This process will cover system setup, material selection, parameter set selection, toolpath generation, feed rates, preheating, and post-build processing. Produce a near-net fabricated part along with ride-along coupons necessary to determine the final mechanical properties of the build using the process outlined. After deposition, the near-net fabrication will be final machined, inspected, tested, and qualified. Alongside the NDI/NDT of the part, the ride-along coupons will be machined and prepared for destructive testing. The final deliverable will be a prototype part produced by wire-fed DED EBAM utilizing the custom high-strength steel, an approved process control document, and material test data that meets the performance requirements set forth in the agreed upon part certification plan.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Work with Navy programs of record to certify and implement components manufactured using wire-fed DED EBAM. Developing this capability using pathfinder parts like this CSI ALRE component will help to identify other parts throughout the Navy that would be good candidates for wire-fed DED EBAM technology. Wire-fed EBAM technology can be utilized on any metallic parts that have high-material waste, machine time, procurement lead time, procurements costs, or other issues that could be solved with EBAM technology. Once the material has been qualified and the part has been certified, the procedures can easily be replicated for a family of parts in the same material and part classification level.

Military and Commercial sectors that could benefit from this AM system include: aerospace, shipping, space, transportation, rail, and automobile. Applications include almost all technology areas such as: engine parts, structural parts, mechanical parts, and support equipment.


  1. Gusarova, A. V., & Khoroshko, E. S. (2019, November). Influence of electron beam parameters on the structure and properties of 321 steel obtained by additive manufacturing. In AIP Conference Proceedings (Vol. 2167, No. 1, p. 020133). AIP Publishing LLC. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5132000
  2. AMS AM Additive Manufacturing Metals Committee. (2020, November 18). Electron Beam Directed Energy Deposition-Wire Additive Manufacturing Process (EB-DED-Wire). SAE International. https://www.sae.org/standards/content/ams7027/
  3. Gibson, I., Rosen, D., & Stucker, B. (2015). Directed energy deposition processes. In Additive manufacturing technologies (pp. 245-268). Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-2113-3_10
  4. Fortuna, S. V., Filippov, A. V., Kolubaev, E. A., Fortuna, A. S., & Gurianov, D. A. (2018, December). Wire feed electron beam additive manufacturing of metallic components. In AIP Conference Proceedings (Vol. 2051, No. 1, p. 020092). AIP Publishing LLC. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5083335
  5. KEYWORDS: Additive Manufacturing; AM; Electron Beam; Directed Energy Deposition; Wire-fed DED; Metal AM; Large Format AM

    ** TOPIC NOTICE **

    The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 23.B STTR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at www.defensesbirsttr.mil/SBIR-STTR/Opportunities/#announcements for any updates.

    The DoD issued its Navy 23.B STTR Topics pre-release on April 19, 2023 which opens to receive proposals on May 17, 2023, and closes June 14, 2023 (12:00pm ET).

    Direct Contact with Topic Authors: During the pre-release period (April 19, 2023 through May 16, 2023) proposing firms have an opportunity to directly contact the Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the specific BAA topic. Once DoD begins accepting proposals on May 17, 2023 no further direct contact between proposers and topic authors is allowed unless the Topic Author is responding to a question submitted during the Pre-release period.

    SITIS Q&A System: After the pre-release period, until May 31, (at 12:00 PM ET), proposers may submit written questions through SITIS (SBIR/STTR Interactive Topic Information System) at www.dodsbirsttr.mil/topics-app/ by logging in and following instructions. In SITIS, the questioner and respondent remain anonymous but all questions and answers are posted for general viewing.

    Topics Search Engine: Visit the DoD Topic Search Tool at www.dodsbirsttr.mil/topics-app/ to find topics by keyword across all DoD Components participating in this BAA.

    Help: If you have general questions about the DoD SBIR program, please contact the DoD SBIR Help Desk via email at [email protected]

    Topic Q & A

    5/17/23  Q. Hi, can the material specification be clarified (i.e., "custom high-strength steel") - should it be assumed that this a martensitic steel? Also, can you please clarify if the intent is to fund entities/PIs which own DED EBAM equipment, or will proposals be considered which partner a PI's institution with DED EBAM suppliers/vendors to develop the requested Phase I build parameters and samples, and Phase II prototypes, while maintaining STTR allocations to the research institution and small business? Thank you.
       A. The material is Cartech 465. Proposals which partner a PI's institution with DED EBAM suppliers/vendors to develop the requested Phase I build parameters and samples, and Phase II prototypes, while maintaining STTR allocations to the research institution and small business will be considered.

    [ Return ]