Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Additive manufacturing

Overview

Additive manufacturing is causing fundamental changes in the way parts are produced. Where typical manufacturing operates by cutting away or molding material, in additive manufacturing, digital designs guide the fabrication of complex, three-dimensional products that are built up, layer by layer.

As the field matures, transitioning what is now more of an art into a science will be critical for expanding its use by industry. This transition depends on measurements and ultimately, standards. Through its core missions of measurement science research and standards development, NIST is working with U.S. industry to lead these changes.

The Engineering Laboratory’s Measurement Science for Additive Manufacturing (MSAM) program is exploring barriers to adoption of additive manufacturing, such as surface quality, part accuracy, fabrication speed, material properties and computational requirements. To mitigate these challenges, the program focuses on material characterization, real-time control of additive manufacturing processes, qualification methodologies and system integration.

The Material Measurement Laboratory is investigating additive manufacturing-related issues for both metals and polymers. Projects underway include studying the fracture and fatigue properties of additive manufacturing materials, nano-mechanical properties of surfaces and flaws in these materials, modeling of microstructure evolution, and relationships between precursor material and final product quality.

The Physical Measurement Laboratory is studying emissive properties of materials in solid, powder, and liquid states, as well as improved techniques for real-time temperature measurements to support better understanding and modeling of additive manufacturing processes.

The Research

Projects & Programs

News

Heat maps displaying the levels of stress within four 3D-printed metal bridges.

New Research Could Help Manufacturers Avoid 3D-Printing Pitfall

microscopic, cross-section view of a defect within a 3D-printed titanium part

Spotlight: Getting Familiar With the Lifespan of 3D-Printed Parts

Microscope image shows blue and green jagged shapes

Spotlight: Exploring Potential Corrosion in 3D-Printed Titanium

Stay in Touch

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest research, trends, and news for Additive manufacturing.