Functionally Gradient Materials (FGM) smoothly transition from one material to another within a single object, allowing engineers to customize the physical response of different regions of the object by modifying the material composition at each region. New FGM research makes design, manufacturing, and use of FGM objects a promising alternative to homogeneous objects or composites with one direction of gradation. Heterogeneous anisotropic artifacts can be manufactured with specific 3D printing processes and potentially bring significant increases in functionalities. However, many challenges exist while designing and manufacturing these objects. This paper explores these challenges and suggests needed research. In particular the ability to model FGM objects, setup and run optimization algorithms, create manufacturing process plans, and control the manufacturing process all need more research and better software tools. In addition, researchers must rigorously test optimally designed FGM objects in order to validate the FGM object properties and the FGM design process before adoption of FGM objects by industry is likely to occur.

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