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distortion prediction models for Additive Manufacturing (AM) of polymeric and composite parts

Objectives and Impact

The PADICTON project target is to develop accurate and functional distortion prediction models for Additive Manufacturing (AM) of polymeric and composite parts that can be utilised in conjunction with other design tools to produce parts adjusted to account for distortion effect. The focus is on Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), with or without fibre reinforcement and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).

Additional characteristics of the PADICTON project are the capability to assess material degradation, crystallinity and distortion of additive manufactured parts, with or without fibre reinforcement, as well as to develop methods and tools for topology and shape optimisation accounting for distortion.

Objectives are the following:

  1. Developing a high-fidelity reference process simulation method for commercial grades of engineering thermoplastics. Along these lines, the investigations will include the consideration of coupled thermal-chemical-mechanical analysis for the determination of residual stress and distortion

  2. Developing a rapid process simulation method by lowering the fidelity compared while maintaining accuracy

  3. Developing an optimisation module for the AM produced parts together with the process simulation modules, while being capable of predicting part distortions and optimising shape accordingly

  4. Implementation of the developed methodology into mainstream Computer Aided Engineering tools to encompass both high and low fidelity simulation tools as well as the optimisation module

  5. Experimentally verifying and validating the developments at different scale and complexity levels i.e coupon and component level



  1. PADICTON will have strong technical impact regarding the combination and improvement of the most state-of-the-art models for AM composite distortion prediction. This will result in a significant step forward in understanding and avoidance of AM part distortion which is critical for the wider adoption of weight saving components in aerospace structures. In combination with optimization tools, this new knowledge can be implemented in software familiar to design engineers within industry. Such tools will help both improve the production process dramatically as well as lower the experience threshold necessary for designing complex composite parts to exact geometric requirements thus eliminating uncertainty about production feasibility regarding precision and cost.

  2. The ecological impact of the PADICTON project will be twofold as: 

    - Scrap reduction by 50 to 80% due to better product conformity reducing the need for large quantities of raw materials which for AM manufacturing are derived from energy intensive petroleum processing.

    - Reduction of fuel consumption through adopting lightweight structures. It is estimated that for every 100kg weight saving in high performance material is equivalent to a reduction of 1.33M tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions and 400 million litres of aviation fuel across the life of an aircraft like A380 [1]. As a consequence, this will also result in a reduction of CO2 and NOx produced and help towards the stated goals of European Flightpath 2050.

  3. The major socio-economic impact of the PADICTON project will be the improved competitiveness of an important manufacturing sector (transport and materials); maintenance and creation of skilled jobs; energy saving in industry; reduced reliance on imported energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.