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  • Writer's pictureJustin Dirrenberger

The Intersection of Passion and Innovation

Hello TETMET Community,

I'm Justin Dirrenberger, the Chief Scientific Officer at TETMET. As 2023 is fading away, this is a great time for reflecting. My 15-year academic voyage in the realm of architectured materials has been a blend of scientific curiosity and a relentless pursuit of practical innovation, particularly in lattice-based materials and structures. Today, I am eager to share with you our strides in Adaptive Spatial Lattice Manufacturing (ASLM) technology, a fusion of my professional insights and TETMET’s visionary approach.

From Concept to Reality: The Lattice Material Dream

The journey into lattice structures keeps on being a captivating one. These materials aren't just about their lightweight and strength; they represent an exploration of how geometry can redefine material properties. However, my early days in the field were marked by a glaring gap – translating the intricate designs of lattice structures into viable, large-scale applications. This challenge set the stage for our pursuit of a groundbreaking manufacturing solution.

Just as a Proust madeleine, let’s take a look back at lattice-based architectured materials yielding auxetic (negative Poisson’s ratio) behaviour. I started working on those when I was a young PhD candidate at Ecole des Mines back in 2009. Amongst other things, we were the first research group to ever study the effect of plasticity on auxeticity (see Fig. 1), which ended up being a nice successful paper, full of computational results. It’s really nice to see how far we have come from the early days of rapid prototyping, as it was called back then, to ASLM.

Fig.1: Stress (plain curves) and apparent Poisson’s ratio (dashed curves) vs. strain response for three different hardening moduli for the hexachiral lattice, reproduced from [1].

ASLM: A Milestone in Manufacturing

For TETMET, ASLM is more than a technology; it's a milestone in our quest to bridge the gap between intricate material design and practical, scalable production. Employing AI-guided precision to laser cut-and-weld solid metal rods, ASLM has enabled us to transcend the limitations of traditional manufacturing methods, most notably additive manufacturing methods such as L-PBF and WAAM, turning intricate lattice designs into a tangible reality. Please have a look at a short video introduction to ASLM (Fig. 2).

Fig.2: ASLM process video presentation.

Recently, we teamed up with CNES (French national centre for space studies) in order to optimise our ASLM process for space applications and its stringent requirements. Our technology will be benchmarked against CNC machining and WAAM, the latter being currently considered for rocket launcher structural parts. We are very confident that ASLM will outperform WAAM by all metrics.

Sustainable Manufacturing: A Core Value

Sustainability is at the heart of our work at TETMET. Our commitment to environmentally responsible practices has been a guiding force in developing ASLM. Our approach with ASLM focuses on utilising materials with low embodied energy, prioritising resources that are abundant and easily accessible globally. This conscientious selection reduces the overall environmental impact of the manufacturing process, from extraction to production. By leveraging these materials, ASLM not only minimises energy consumption but also ensures that the materials used are more sustainable and have a reduced carbon footprint.

This is only the beginning of a revolution in the way we design things. Environmental impact of ASLM-produced structures is computed from the earlier design steps. We are developing tools for integrating sustainability potential gains as design indicators, just like we would normally do with mass, strength or cost.

We love to be challenged on these indicators.

Decentralising Production: A Strategic Shift

The shift towards decentralised production with ASLM was born out of a need to create a more resilient and efficient manufacturing ecosystem. By bringing production closer to the point of use, we minimise environmental impact and enhance local economic growth, aligning with my vision of a more interconnected and sustainable manufacturing landscape.

Another advantage of decentralised manufacturing emerges when considering emergency response in the wake of natural disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis, for which the time for having an up-and-running infrastructure is critical. Both the flexible digital toolchain and the hardware-agnostic nature of ASLM are key in such situations, as illustrated by Fig. 3.

Fig. 3: AI-generated image of the ASLM process being used in a post-disaster context.

Expanding Horizons: ASLM in Space and Beyond

One of the most exhilarating aspects of ASLM is its potential in space exploration. This technology's precision and efficiency open up new avenues for constructing complex structures in orbit, a domain where my fascination with materials science converges with the infinite possibilities of space.

For this endeavour, we have been partnering with a robotics company developing a lightweight robotic arm for space logistics and manufacturing. The combination of our technologies might just be the missing brick for unlocking in-space servicing, assembling and manufacturing (ISAM), which will be the infrastructure backbone of any large-scale space endeavours in the coming years, or centuries as illustrated in Fig. 4. 

Fig. 4: The future of lattice-based materials beyond Earth?

Join Us on This Transformative Journey

As we continue to push the boundaries of lattice materials and ASLM technology, I invite you, the global community of innovators and thinkers, to join us. Your insights and expertise are invaluable as we navigate this exciting field.

Thank you for being a part of our journey at TETMET. Let's collaborate to shape a sustainable, efficient, and innovative future in manufacturing.

Connect with me for updates and discussions on the future of manufacturing. Together, let's drive change.

Best Regards,

Justin Dirrenberger, Chief Scientific Officer, TETMET


[1] Dirrenberger, J., Forest, S., & Jeulin, D. (2012). Elastoplasticity of auxetic materials. Computational Materials Science, 64, 57-61


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