Kennard Johnston

MIT Department: Mechanical Engineering

Undergraduate Institution: Morgan State University

Faculty Mentor: Douglas Hart

Research Supervisor: Matthew Pearlson

Website: LinkedIn

2018 Research Poster


My name is Kennard Francisco Johnston, I am originally from Eatontown, NJ, and I am pursuing a BS in Civil Engineering at Morgan State University! I am most interested in researching viable solutions for global environmental crises that will contribute to a more sustainable and secure future. My enjoyments include, but are not limited to, all forms of music, water/land based fitness, traveling, photography, and most importantly deepening my faith in God’s word. I aspire to obtain a PhD in engineering, a MPP/MPA, and utilize my passions and knowledge for the advancement of those seen and unseen.

2018 Research Abstract

Investing in Sustainability: 3D Printed Metal Gyroids

K. F. Johnston1, M. Pearlson2 and D. Hart3

1Department of Civil Engineering, Morgan State University

2, 3Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3D printed metal gyroids provide a promising ultra-strong, lightweight, and sustainably produced trajectory for investment-cast structures of all kinds. Gyroids are 3D assemblies of graphene, one of the stiffest and strongest materials. With their unique triply periodic, minimal surface area, and material-independent strength qualities, gyroids offer an improved alternative to traditional lattice structures. While these structures have the potential to be highly useful, current additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques inhibit them from being produced in the real world. This work explores Proprietary methods to overcome this by combining computer aided design (CAD) produced software models that are then 3D printed via vat-photopolymerization, and ultimately investment-cast. To create metal gyroids, the structure is first fabricated using Autodesk Nettfabb Ultimate 2018, software “sliced”, printed on a stereolithography (STL) apparatus using castable resin that can “burnout” (i.e. FormLabs 2), invested, fired in a pre-programmed burn out oven, and cast with metal alloys such as aluminum. Cast parts’ strength, mass, and complexity are thus appropriately and specifically optimized with this combination of STL technology, topological optimization software, and 3D printer enabled rapid prototyping. Increase of design and product flexibility makes the casting process less wasteful in material and more useful in real-world engineering applications. The production of these gyroids using existing and available resources highlights that the incorporation of these structures into the world is feasible and has potential to makes casting gyroids a reality. Future work in this field includes mechanical testing, heterogenous configurations, and finer features.