Mechanical Engineering and Control Systems Expert Seeks To Boost the Reliability of Additive Manufacturing Technologies
May 7, 2013
Control systems expert Sandipan Mishra, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has won a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Mishra will use the five-year, $400,000 grant to investigate and develop new sensing and controls paradigms to help push forward the leading-edge field of additive manufacturing. The CAREER Award is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and is one of NSF’s most competitive awards, placing emphasis on high-quality research and novel education initiatives.
“We congratulate Dr. Mishra for receiving an NSF CAREER Award to support his promising and timely research into control systems for additive manufacturing,” said David Rosowsky, dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “The CAREER Award is among the highest honors a new faculty member can receive, and recognizes their potential for significant scholarly impact early in their academic career. Dr. Mishra joins a growing list of NSF CAREER Award recipients in the School of Engineering at Rensselaer.”
With his CAREER project, titled “Multiobjective learning control strategies for additive manufacturing,” Mishra aims to develop advanced sensing and controls algorithms for improving precision and reliability of additive manufacturing technologies, including 3-D printing. A new paradigm of how things are made, additive manufacturing is the name for fabricating a single, custom-designed part that is made on-demand and with minimal material. Despite its tremendous potential, additive manufacturing is hampered by poor process reliability and throughput. The systems simply are not precise or robust enough to be scaled up and used for commercial, mass-manufactured products.
Mishra’s goal is to overcome this challenge by creating smarter control systems that will use sensor measurements to help 3-D printers learn and adapt as they are operating. Many additive manufacturing technologies work by applying or printing thin layers of materials on top of one another—literally constructing the object from the ground up, one layer at a time. Mishra is seeking to create and design a feedback system that will enable an additive manufacturing system to make small, iterative refinements in the midst of a printing job. The system will be able to continually assess the progress of a print job, and then automatically make necessary adjustments to ensure the finished good will have specific pre-determined properties or geometries. These process improvements could boost the overall reliability of 3-D printing, and open the door to creating larger and faster additive manufacturing technologies suitable for industrial-scale production.
Mishra joined the Rensselaer faculty in 2010, after serving for two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
In addition to the CAREER Award, Mishra receives research funding from the NSF Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division to investigate ways of using image sensors for high-speed adaptive optics systems. He is leading an NSF Sustainable Energy Pathways research project at Rensselaer, in collaboration with University of Wisconsin, to support research into advanced controls for energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Mishra is also working on the design and automation of a synthetic organ printer.
At Rensselaer, Mishra is a member of the NSF-funded Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center, where he leads a project to develop better, smarter controls for color-tunable LED lighting systems. These controls aim to optimize and balance competing factors such as energy consumption, lighting quality, and human comfort.
For additional information on Mishra’s research at Rensselaer, visit: http://homepages.rpi.edu/~mishrs2/