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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 71 | 19. Oktober 2017
Priority Programme “Materials for Additive Manufacturing” (SPP 2122)

In 2017, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Materials for Additive Manufacturing” (SPP 2122). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the first three-year funding period.

Lasers in production processes, including additive manufacturing, are becoming more and more powerful, but the materials powders available are often inadequate for today’s laser processing tasks. In additive manufacturing there has been multiple efforts regarding the adaptation of process parameters, but metal powders are used which were developed for thermal spraying, a completely different kind of process. In modern laser-based additive manufacturing, these powders lead to process instabilities as well as porosities and defects in the resulting components. In the field of polymer powders, there is also a lack of operational availability of a sufficiently wide range of processable materials and a limitation in the final components’ property profiles compared to conventional processing routes. Fundamental research focussing on the powder materials synthesis and engineering for laser-based additive manufacturing to shape the process chain right from the start is needed, i.e. powder materials development.

The Priority Programme’s main objective is the synthesis of new metal and polymer powders for efficient laser-based 3D additive manufacturing by means of formulations, additivations and (chemical) modifications of both, new and commercial powders. By this, the range of powder materials accessible for laser-based additive manufacturing shall be enhanced significantly. Improving the processability includes requirements like efficient, low cycling time, highly reproducible and precise laser-based additive manufacturing processes. Hence, a recursive research, where the knowledge on materials behaviour during laser-based additive manufacturing is used as input for improved materials design, and vice versa, is preferred. A deepened, preferably predictive, understanding of the materials behaviour during laser-based additive manufacturing by means of suitable analytical and theoretical examination methods is desired.

In this Priority Programme, research will be carried out on materials for laser-based 3D additive manufacturing, which show a high need for improvement. These are limited to polymer and metal micropowders and their chemical as well as metallurgical and additive-based modifications. The Priority Programme also aims at addressing scientific questions and concepts bridging the two materials classes of polymers and metals. Exemplary scientific challenges are:

  • Specific adaptation of materials parameters like absorption coefficients for infrared and visible lasers, glass transition and crystallisation temperatures as well as crystallisation kinetics and enthalpy of powders to improve the laser-based additive manufacturing process.
  • Development of (salable) powder synthesis processes, aiming at an optimised crystallisation-melting-window or additive dispersion while providing spherical and size-controlled powders, including improved polymer chain mobility, kinetic control of melting and resolidification, or defined alloy recrystallisation.
  • Significant extension of the property profiles of laser-based additive manufacturing parts by new and improved materials with e.g. adapted meltability, flowability as well as wetting behaviour.
  • Improved understanding of the melting and sintering dynamics by in-situ process monitoring as well as analytical and theoretical methods.
  • Improved understanding of the relationship between materials structure and processability on different length scales, e.g. via modelling and simulation.

The scientific frame of the Priority Programme is defined by the following criteria:

  • Projects need to address the dosage form of powders. The powder synthesis, modification and formulation approaches shall be capable of providing the amount of powder material that laser-based additive manufacturing requires for statistically meaningful fundamental experiments.
  • Commercial powders which are merely mechanically or thermally post-treated (e.g. simple fractionation or thermal rounding of commonly available steel or polyamide powders) are not of interest. Powder materials excluded from the Priority Programme are ceramics, semiconductors, and glasses. Those materials classes may be studied as (nano- or matrix-) additives to the polymer and metal powders.
  • Understanding the materials and the beginning of the process chain is in focus rather than the final component. Therefore, laser process parameter studies on given materials without materials development aspects will not be funded. Accordingly, optimisation of the final components’ functional properties (e.g. mechanical, biological, optical, magnetic, electrical functions) is not primarily addressed. However, detailed structural or chemical characterisation of the component is required to understand the material’s response to the manufacturing process.
  • Projects that focus on 2D surface processing, as well as projects using non-assembling joining or separating laser processes will not be funded. The following methods, which are defined in the VDI Guideline 3404 as “Generative Manufacturing Methods”, are also not included in the Priority Programme: Fused Deposition Modelling, Stereo-Lithography, Multi-Jet Modelling, Poly-Jet Modelling, Layer Laminated Manufacturing, Digital Light Processing and filament or ink-based 3D printing. Also, methods in which other beam sources (e.g. X-rays) or low-intensity radiation (optics research) are used or in which a focus is on microscopy methods are not within the scope of the Priority Programme. Furthermore, the focus is not on the development of beam sources, machines or optical components.

The Priority Programme aims to bring together materials scientists and photonics researchers. To this end, an interdisciplinary and transregional cooperation between the two fields of “materials” and “laser-based additive manufacturing” in the form of tandem projects (joint projects with applicants from both fields) is highly desired. Projects that are not proposed as tandem projects will need to include additional scientific justification.

Specific links across the project boundaries are envisaged (e.g. sample exchange, analytical characterisation, modelling data) also to foster the discovery of concepts bridging the two materials classes of polymers and metals. Therefore, each project should specify plans to exchange knowledge, materials or data with other projects. Applicants need to specify their planned inter-project collaborations comprehensively. This specification ideally advances both fields, the metal and polymer powders.

In this context, the following topical areas, addressing common questions, are proposed:

  • Synthesis and matrix formulation: How shall process parameters and materials properties be adapted to the laser-based additive manufacturing process via matrix modification (e.g. alloying, doping, compounding) of powders?
  • Particle surface formulation and additivation: How shall target properties like flowability, wetting, porosity or (heterogeneous) nucleation be adapted to the laser-based additive manufacturing process via surface modification of powders?
  • In-situ measurements and process dynamics: How may calorimetry, high-speed videography, pyrometry and online spectroscopy as well as modelling contribute to understand the melting and recrystallisation dynamics as well as the lateral distribution of the thermal process window?

Within the Priority Programme female and early career researchers will be supported in developing their careers, so members of both groups are strongly encouraged to submit a proposal.

Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 28 February 2018. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system. Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 21 February 2018 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and the proposal process. To enter a new project within the Priority Programme, go to Proposal Submission – New Project/Draft Proposal – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 2122” from the current list of calls.

In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01). These forms can either be downloaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal. Proposals by one applicant must not exceed 20 pages. Joint proposals may comprise five additional pages for each additional applicant.

The proposals will be evaluated in the course of a colloquium with short talks and poster presentations, currently scheduled for May 2018.

Further Information

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stephan Barcikowski,
    Universität Duisburg-Essen,
    Fakultät für Chemie,
    Lehrstuhl für Technische Chemie I,
    Universitätsstr. 7,
    45141 Essen,
    phone +49 201 183-3150,
    Link auf E-Mailstephan.barcikowski@uni-due.de

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:

Programme contact:

Administrative contact:


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