Winning Research: Michele Vanini’s SIM Poster Award 2023

The SIM Materials Forum held during Advanced Engineering at Antwerp Expo witnessed the recognition of Michele Vanini as the poster award winner for his exceptional research on optimizing process parameters for 2507 super duplex stainless steel in laser powder bed fusion (LPBF). Vanini’s innovative approach, combining modeling and experimental methods, has led to significant advancements in Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes. In this article, we explore Vanini’s research journey, the impact of his findings, and the significance of the SIM Materials Forum in advancing materials innovation.

Unveiling the Research

Vanini’s poster presentation delved into the realm of LPBF, an additive manufacturing technique that selectively fuses layers of powdered material using a high-powered laser. The focus of his study was to optimize the LPBF process for super duplex stainless steel by integrating an analytical model with statistical methods. This combined approach aimed to reduce the number of required experiments and streamline the development of robust manufacturing processes for LPBF.

Embracing the Project

Vanini’s research interests in AM drew him to this project. As a Ph.D. student at the AM Institute at KU Leuven, he was captivated by the potential of LPBF for fabricating complex and high-performance components. The opportunity to work on this project, which employed analytical modeling and statistical methods to optimize LPBF process parameters, perfectly aligned with his passions and allowed him to contribute to the advancement of AM techniques.

Steps towards Success

To achieve his current results, Vanini took several steps. He conducted a comprehensive literature review to understand the current knowledge in the field. He then formulated an experimental design to investigate the effects of various process parameters, such as laser power, scanning speed, hatch spacing, and powder bed temperature. Experimental testing was performed, and data on density measurement and optical microscopy cross-sections were collected. Concurrently, Vanini developed and improved a mathematical model to establish the relationship between process parameters and material properties, facilitating the prediction of optimal process parameters.

The Significance of SIM Materials Forum

The SIM Materials Forum provided Vanini with an excellent platform to showcase his research and receive feedback from experts in the field. When discussing the reactions he received, Vanini states, “The reactions from visitors to my poster were overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. Many visitors, including researchers working in similar fields, expressed keen interest in the combination of an analytical model and statistical methods for process optimization in LPBF.” The forum allowed for insightful discussions, knowledge exchange, and attendance of presentations that enriched Vanini’s understanding of the topic.

Although Vanini did not anticipate being nominated for the Poster Award, he dedicated himself to practicing his pitch extensively once his poster was selected. Despite the limited preparation time, he ensured effective communication of the key research points and delivered a compelling presentation within the allocated time frame. As this was his first public pitch in front of a large audience, Vanini experienced a mix of nervousness and excitement during the award ceremony. However, he felt immense happiness and gratitude for the opportunity to share his research with others.

Support from SIM Resonam Project

Under the SIM Resonam project, Vanini received significant support, enabling collaboration and access to resources that greatly enhanced his research. Vanini acknowledges SIM’s role, stating: “SIM played a crucial role in facilitating collaboration and providing resources that significantly enhanced the progress and outcomes of my work. Through the Resonam project, I had the opportunity to collaborate with experts from different disciplines, including materials science, engineering, and data analytics. This collaboration brought diverse perspectives and expertise to my research, allowing for a more comprehensive and holistic approach.”

Celebrating Success

Vanini’s engaging poster secured him first place at the SIM Materials Forum 2023. The aftermath of Vanini’s win was filled with excitement and congratulations. Surprised and incredibly happy, he felt a sense of validation for the effort he had put into his research. The warm support and congratulations from the community served as motivation for his future endeavors.

The group award that Vanini received will be utilized for a team-building activity with his colleagues. While specific details are yet to be decided, the goal is to organize an event that fosters team bonding and creates lasting memories for everyone involved.

Looking Ahead

While Vanini’s research has reached a significant conclusion, there are still important next steps to be taken. He explains: “The first step is to validate and optimize the developed model by conducting additional experiments. We will also collaborate with industry partners to implement the optimized process parameters in their production lines, gaining valuable feedback and real-world insights.” The research will explore the application of the optimized parameters to other materials and investigate novel approaches to further enhance the LPBF process for super duplex stainless steel.

Michele Vanini’s groundbreaking research on optimizing process parameters for super duplex stainless steel in LPBF demonstrates the potential of combining analytical modeling and statistical methods to advance additive manufacturing processes. The recognition he received at the SIM Materials Forum highlights the importance of platforms like SIM in fostering collaboration, knowledge exchange, and innovation in materials science. Vanini’s achievements are not only a testament to his dedication and expertise but also a promising step forward in enhancing the capabilities of laser powder bed fusion for the production of high-performance components.