In summary

Swinburne University of Technology’s Dr Louise Olsen-Kettle has been awarded a Victorian Endowment for Science Knowledge and Innovation (VESKI) Inspiring Women Career Recovery Grant. 

Dr Olsen-Kettle is a Vice Chancellor’s Women in STEM Fellow in Mathematics at Swinburne. She works in the field of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, which has revolutionised the way products are developed and manufactured.  

Dr Olsen-Kettle’s research is in mathematical modelling of damage to create longer-lasting products, forecast risk and prevent structural disasters such as bridge or building collapses. 

As part of Swinburne's flagship Space and Aerospace Technology research area, the VESKI grant will support Swinburne’s Manufacturing Futures Research InstituteAdvanced Manufacturing Industry 4.0 Hub and the National Industry 4.0 Testlab

The VESKI grant will support Dr Olsen-Kettle’s research in optimising the design of stronger and more resilient 3D-printed parts through numerical simulations. 

veski inspiring women - Louise Olsen-Kettle

Numerical simulations provide a much cheaper, quicker alternative to running the same suite of experimental tests. 

‘Producing stronger and more resilient 3D printed products will allow the Australian manufacturing, automotive, aviation and defence industries to fully exploit all that additive manufacturing technology has to offer.’ 

‘Additive technology has heralded a new era in manufacturing due to its ease and speed of producing single, lightweight pieces with complex internal geometries. However, the mechanical 3D printed parts are still somewhat inferior to their traditionally manufactured counterparts,’ Dr Olsen-Kettle says. 

The grant will fund a software developer to upscale and extend the range of applications of 3D printed parts modelled by Dr Kettle-Olsen’s research team. 

‘It will develop a user-friendly software tool to interface between the open-source 3D printer software and 3D mesh generation software used as input to my numerical simulations,’ Dr Olsen-Kettle says. 

‘This will provide long-term benefits not only to me but also to my research team by expediting our simulations of 3D printed products to include the complex geometry, printing path, stacking sequence, material type and associated defects with the printing process.’ 

The VESKI Inspiring Women Career Discovery grants are awarded, in part, in recognition of the profound disruption to their work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Swinburne’s closure during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown affected Dr Olsen-Kettle’s team. Her ability to focus on publications and off-campus collaborations, including internationally, was significantly affected by increased carer responsibilities including caring for young children, as well as travel bans. 

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