Dr. Nicole Zander
US Army Research Laboratory
2800 Powder Mill Road
Adelphi, MD 20783-1138
Phone: (301) 394-3590
Presentation: "Additive Manufacturing Materials and Technologies"
Dr. Zander is a research chemist in the Polymers Branch at the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Aberdeen, MD. Her current primary research interests are polymer processing, additive manufacturing, and nanofiber research in areas such as tissue engineering, antimicrobial materials and filtration. Her major focus is on the recycling of waste plastics and other materials into additive manufacturing feedstocks. She is part of a winning Marine Innovation Challenge team in which she is working on building a mobile laboratory that recycles plastics into filament for 3D printing. Before joining ARL, she worked as an analytical chemist at the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center in Edgewood, MD.
With the constantly changing threat environment, the Army needs to be able to quickly adapt their tactics and equipment. But burdensome and lengthy acquisition cycles make this challenging. Additive manufacturing can potentially be utilized to overcome many of the challenges and enables on-demand manufacturing of repair parts, as well as rapid prototyping. Through topology optimization, parts can be designed lighter and/or stronger and more cost-effective. In addition to new technologies being explored such as hybrid manufacturing in which entire metal and plastic devices can be fabricated within the same piece of equipment, a host of novel feedstocks are being developed such as multi-material thermoplastics and filled resins that further increase the range of properties of the 3D printed parts. In addition to the research performed in Army laboratories, one of the major thrusts of current Army additive manufacturing research is the ability to manufacture at the point of need in remote environments. Research at the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is showing that agile, expeditionary manufacturing could be accomplished through the use of materials at or near to the location of our operating bases. These materials could include not only commercial feedstocks, but also the organic and inorganic materials naturally occurring in the area and recycled materials from the operating bases such as polymers, metals, and paper materials. Distributed manufacturing could reduce the logistics tail needed to conduct wars on foreign soil, saving valuable resources and lives, and allowing the warfighter to perform the mission, instead of guarding and securing convoy transports. In addition to reduced energy costs related to transportation, the operational readiness and self-sustainability of operating bases would be increased.