Development of powder bed printing (3DP) for rapid and flexible fabrication of energetic material payloads and munitions

Period of Performance: 09/23/2016 - 04/25/2017


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Makel Engineering, Inc.
1585 Marauder St. Array
Chico, CA 95973
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Lawrence Livermore National Lab
P.O.Box 808
Livermore, CA 94551
Institution POC


This program will demonstrate how additive manufacturing technologies can be used with reactive and high energy materials to create rapid and flexible fabrication of payload and munitions. Our primary approach to this problem will be to use powder bed binder printing techniques to print reactive structures. The anticipated feedstock will consist of composite particles containing all reactant species. Each printed particle can act as its own chemical cell, negating the need for particle-to-particle diffusion of reactants. Because structural integrity is a goal of this proposed work, an infiltrate will be utilized to fill voids and reinforce the printed structure. The initial focus will be on melt infiltrating the structure with solders or brazing alloys. Their low melting temperatures allow infiltration without diminishing the stored chemical energy in the printed reactive material. Reactive payloads formed by additive manufacturing can improve the payload effect/mass ratio by replacing structural elements in the munition that would otherwise be inert. In the future, we anticipate additive manufacturing may be able to create new, highly-controllable and tailored payload effects that would not be possible with traditional munitions. The program will focus on demonstrating the fundamental building blocks and techniques that can facilitate this development process.