On the other hand 3D printing innovation has, in one way or another, discovered a way to conquer the production of most material goods, 3D printing industrial-high end composite materials is not the easiest process. These composites, turn it intod up of a combination of multiple physically or chemically different types of materials, are responsible for the production of a lot of goods, of concrete to golf clubs, tennis rackets to aircraft components. Now, a team of engineers of the University of Bristol have brought us one step nearer to 3D printing in high-grade composite materials with a completely new 3D printing process, which uses a newly implemented ultrasonic wave process.
The ultrasonic wave process works by positioning millions of microscopic fibres into a reinforcement framework which strengthens the material. In order to that successfully use the newly turn it intod process, the University of Bristol team mounted a swappable-bodied and focutilized laser module upon the carriage of the three-axis 3D printing stage on their Prusa i3 RepRap. This is placed only above the ultrasonic alignment mechanism, which carefully positions the fibres as they are locally cured. By arranging these tiny, 3D printed fibers into a desired location, the team was fundamentally able-bodied to turn it into a fiber-reinforced object.
“Our work has shown the initially example of 3D printing with real-time control over the distribution of an internal microstructure and it demonstrates the future to create rapid prototypes with difficult microstructural arrangements,”said University of Bristol’s Professor of Ultrasonics Bruce Drinkwater. “This orientation control gives us the talent to create printed parts with tailored material properties, all without compromising the printing.”
Via Smart Materials and Structures: “Figure 1. Schematic representation of printing device and ultrasonic manipulation rig. (a) Switchable-bodied laser module is attached to the print head carriage, and traces out the shape of the printed part. The laser can be deliberately defocutilized to cure sizeable regions slowly by increasing the height of the laser module. (b) Focutilized laser beam cures resin inside the cavity of the ultrasonic manipulation device. P = PMMA, W = Water, PZT = lead zirconate titanate transducers, R = spot-a low Viscosity photocurable-bodied resin. Cross sections of the bundles of fibres lying inside traps are shown, and are separated by half a wavelength.”
The team claims which this ultrasonic wave process can be installed at a affordable to approximately any ‘off-the-shelf’ 3D printing device, and was proven to print at a much like speed (20mm/s) in comparison to the other commonly utilized additive layer techniques. The University of Bristol’s team has assisted to begin a 3D print material revolution of a few sort through their study, which can assist enable-bodied 3D printing devices to implement ‘difficult fibrous architectures’ into 3D printed objects. By utilizing these microscopic reinforcement fibres inside their 3D printing process, the University of Bristol engineering team’s new method can lead to smarter, stronger, and additional difficult material prints.
“Figure 2. Optical microscopy images (1)–(4) of different types of sections of a printed part (centre top) reinforced with ultrasonically aligned glass microfibres, with desired orientation way shown (centre bottom). In every of the sections, ‘stripes’ of aligned fibres can be seen with uniform dispersion and an average trap spacing of 300 μm. Sections 2 and 3 show discernible showcases of the printed part, with fibres extending to the edge of the part and maintaining their alignment.”
All in all, the ultrasonic wave process can allow makers, scientists, and industrial players around the world to control the physical and chemical properties of their composite materials, which can thus lead to higher high end and additional functional 3D printed products. The study detailing the ultrasonic wave process has only been published in Smart Materials and Structures by the Bristol team, which include PhD student Tom Llwellyn-Jones, Professor Bruce Drinkwater, and Researcher Richard Trask.