Florida International University (FIU) has secured a $22.9m grant from the US Army to support its research on additive manufacturing technologies.

The five-year research grant was awarded by the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory.

Particularly, the university will focus on the development of high-performance materials that can be used to produce munitions or vehicles.

FIU Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering chair and Advanced Materials Engineering Research Institute director Arvind Agarwal said: “There is much potential for advancing this highly innovative technique.

“The research at FIU will primarily focus on the development of high-performance metallic materials, which are lightweight and of ultra-great strength, using Rapid Advanced Deposition (RAD) techniques including wire arc, solid-state cold spray and friction-stir additive manufacturing.”

According to an FIU statement, solid 3D parts can be printed in minutes using the latest automation techniques. A compact form of the technology that will use a portable handheld applicator is expected to be effective in military field operations.

The new research will explore the scientific understanding of this process as well as seek to develop enhanced tools and techniques to enable faster and cost-effective production and repair of materials.

FIU College of Engineering and Computing dean John L Volakis said: “We are thrilled to once again participate in a substantial collaboration with the federal government, other leading research institutions and commercial entities.

“This research not only addresses the US Army’s needs but it also allows public universities to contribute toward significant initiatives of national interest.”

During the first two phases of the grant, FIU teamed up with other academic institutions to develop solid-state AM and polymer coatings.