Lightweight Composite Cellular Cast Structures

This manufacturing process, which combines 3D Printing and metal casting, is capable of producing lightweight metal-ceramic composite cellular structures. The resultant composite structures feature a complex cellular shape that can be structurally optimized to efficiently distribute the applied loads, while significantly reducing weight.  In addition, multiple layers of ceramic tiles can be strategically placed throughout the part to eliminate the "planes" of weakess inherent to typical layered composites and still maintain the requirement that there is no straight pathway through the structure that does not intersect a tile.  The composite will have multi-hit capability since the fracture of one tile will not fracture adjacent tiles.  The metal-ceramic composite structures that result from this manufacturing process will be ideal for lightweight armor applications.  The structures are expected to represent an order of magnitude improvement over existing solutions: monolithic ceramic (that suffer from brittleness) and polymer-ceramic (that have low strength and toughness).

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Grant Brewer
Senior Licensing Associate
Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc.
(540) 443-9218
Alan Druschitz
Christopher Williams
Dean Snelling