University of Central Florida Awarded “U LIFT Challenge” Project Supporting Innovations in Additive Manufacturing

UCF will determine the printability and buildability of metallic alloys to accelerate the discovery of new additive manufacturing-specific materials.


ORLANDO, FL. – LIFT, the Detroit-based national manufacturing innovation institute, today announced it has awarded a “U LIFT Challenge” project award to the University of Central Florida to further explore metallic alloys used in additive manufacturing.

The university team will assess and establish thermokinetic criteria to determine printability and buildability of metallic alloys for powder bed fusion (PBF) additive manufacturing in order to accelerate the discovery of new additive manufacturing-specific alloys as well as component-ready manufacturing of commercial alloys.

While PBF is emerging as a smart technology platform allowing for customized manufacturing of component with nearly unlimited geometry and design freedom, the current approach links parameters directly to microstructure, without due consideration for thermophysical properties of alloy/composition, leading to limited design capability and only valid within the experimental data available.

The ability to design and develop new or modify existing commercial alloys will allow for rapid design and assessment of metallic alloys for customized manufacturing and advantageous applications in hypersonics, lightweight armor, weapon systems, space, legacy parts, airframe structures.

“Our team is looking forward to working with LIFT and advancing additive manufacturing technologies,” said Dr. Yongho Sohn, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Central Florida. “Advancing new materials and new processes are key to the future of manufacturing and core to LIFT’s mission, so we are proud to have been awarded this project to work with them.”

The UCF project is expected to also help support LIFT’s ongoing hypersonics materials research work.

“Our university partners are critical to our work of advancing technologies for the U.S. industrial base,” said Noel Mack, Chief Technology Officer, LIFT. “We received a number of outstanding proposals for the ‘U LIFT Challenge’ and our ‘sharks’ had to make some difficult decisions, but we are excited to see the outcome of working with Dr. Sohn and his UCF team.”

The U LIFT Challenge is funded by LIFT and was modeled after the popular television show “Shark Tank,” open to universities from across the country. Proposals were initially reviewed by the LIFT Technology Team. A select number were then invited to present their proposal in a “Shark Tank”-style virtual meeting, including LIFT staff and industry members from the LIFT Technology Interest Group.

Submissions were required to align with LIFT’s ICME technology thrusts, including hypersonics, lightweight armor, weapon systems, space, orphan & obsolete parts, airframe structures or cross collaboration with LIFT’s other technology pillars, including advanced material & process development, multi-material joining, and agile & smarter manufacturing. Materials of interest include metallics, ceramics, and hybrid materials.

For the U LIFT Challenge, projects were evaluated on:

  • Technological Merit,
  • Technology Readiness Level/Manufacturing Readiness Level,
  • Ability to meet program timing & Proposed Budget, and
  • LIFT Member Engagement.