ISE Seminar Series

Printing Outside The Box: Realizing Multi-functional Products With Multi-modal Additive Manufacturing Process Chains

Christopher Williams.

Christopher Williams

L.S. Randolph Professor and Electro-Mechanical Corporation Senior Faculty Fellow, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech

February 2, 2024 | 12-12:50 p.m. | 120 Knox Hall


Additive Manufacturing (AM) has been often hyped as an all-in-one manufacturing process capable of directly fabricating end-use products within a single step. However, this holds AM to a higher standard than all other manufacturing processes, which require additional processing steps to refine material properties, surface finish, etc. In addition, this approach falsely places constraints on AM process capabilities to be confined within a literal box. Such constraints limit the application of AM's layer-wise fabrication approach that empowers engineers to selectively place (multiple-) materials to realize products that satisfy multiple functions and design objectives. To fully realize the potential of AM, the processes are in need of further advancements in material selection and process capability, which can be aided by additional post-processing steps. The aim of this talk is to highlight how multi-functionality can be achieved by expanding our view of AM processing to expand outside of the printer's box to incorporate post-processing to impart additional functionality to printed parts. Examples covered in this talk include (i) AM of copper foams via binder jetting, (ii) printing of hybrid electronics via photopolymerization of fully-aromatic polyimides, (iii) and autonomous robotic AM of complete mechatronic systems


Dr. Christopher Williams is the L.S. Randolph Professor and Electro-Mechanical Corporation Senior Faculty Fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He is the Director of the Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems (DREAMS) Laboratory, which team was named the “2023 Academic Research Team of the Year” by 3D Printing Industry. The lab has published over 130 journal articles on topics spanning innovations in additive manufacturing processes and materials, Design for Additive Manufacturing methodologies, and cyber-physical security for AM. Chris has been involved in over $35M of externally funded research. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2013) and the 2012 International Outstanding Young Researcher in Freeform and Additive Manufacturing Award. He is a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Williams holds a PhD and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia) and a BS with High Honors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida).

Event Date: February 2, 2024