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New Ultrasonic 3D Printing Process Can Create and Print High-Tech Composite Materials

by • January 18, 2016 • No Comments

3dp_ultrasound_u_of_b_logo3D printing materials are one of the most quickly expanding segments of the 3D printing industry, and we have additional high-tech and high end material versions than at any time preceding. But usable 3D printable material versions are always going to be limited to the innovation of the 3D printing device being utilized. There are may already sat any timeal high-durablity and lightweight materials on the market, howat any time truly high end composites are may already beyond the capabilities of modern 3D printing. Because most composites require the multiple materials to be arranged in really specific micro-scale structures while being created, current innovation is just incapable of via them.

The modified computer desktop 3D printing device utilized in the research.

The modified computer desktop 3D printing device utilized in the research.

But a team of engineers of the University of Bristol — comprising Thomas M. Llewellyn-Jones, Bruce W. Drinkwater and Riccomplex S. Trask — have created a new hybrid type of 3D printing that can both assemble and print with composite materials via a combination of computer desktop 3D printing device innovation, light-curable resins and ultrasonic waves. This new system can allow super sturdy and lightweight composites like the variety utilized to create tennis rackets, golf clubs, pro bicycles or actually airplane parts to be utilized with additive making innovation. Needless to say these new material versions can contribute entire new industries the skill to incorporate 3D printing into their making workflow. And the most part is that for the most part the system was created via existing 3D printing innovation.

Composite materials are created by combining micro-structures of glass or carbon fibers with a plastic material. The carefully arranged fibers lock together and donate the new material its durablity and durskill, while the plastic confirms that the outcomeing material can be lightweight. Today, composite materials are manufactured as thin sheets that are and so layered and cut into the desired shape and thickness. The problem with via this as a 3D printing material is the tiny fibers in the composite materials. In order to create the desired durablity the fibers require to be aligned in a really exact structure, that is may already not possible to recreate via a 3D printing device.

Transducers hustle the microstructures into place while a laser complexens the resin.

Transducers hustle the microstructures into place while a laser complexens the resin.

Howat any time the Bristol researchers have found a system that exposes a light-cured resin material combined with millions of micro-scale glass fibers to ultrasonic fields created by a pair of transducers. When the ultrasonic waves are directed at the liquid material at specific frequencies it produces a forcefield that can organize the glass fibers into the desired structure. The glass structures act as material reinforcement, much like to the way that rebar is utilized to durablityen concrete structures like assembling foundations or bridges. Once the structures are consume the resin material can and so be complexened via a really tightly focutilized laser beam. The outcome is a composite material that has the same properties as those created with traditional composite making methods.

“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 harsh microstructural arrangements. This orientation control donates us the skill to create printed parts with tailored material properties, all without compromising the printing,” said Bruce Drinkwater, UofB research team member and Professor of Ultrasonics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The structures can align within five seconds.

The structures can align within five seconds.

Aside of the introduced benefit of durskill and durablity, this new composite material 3D printing system in addition contributes the skill to manufacture entirely new composite patterns that can’t be manufactured via traditional methods. The ultrasonic wave pattern can easily be slightly altered or modified to steer and position the glass fibers during the 3D printing system, giving a single material the skill to be 3D printed into a limitless number of composite materials with a wide range of uses and applications. This is primarily for the reason standard making allows for just for two dimensional structures to be assembled and and so layered on top of other layers of two-dimensional structures. Howat any time 3D printing contributes the version of creating highly harsh three-dimensional structures nat any time preceding possible.

The ultrasonic alignment system can donate product designers and engineers entirely new versions for creating smart materials that are capable of instantly performing harsh actions like self-repairing injure. Researchers are may already looking into embedding networks of tubes of uncured resin material within of an object that when ruptured can just bleed out and repair the structure of the object. These tubes may easily be placed and created via regulated ultrasound waves. Structures can in addition be created that can absorb, keep and transmit electricity or data, that may remove the require to assemble easy electronics or data transmission devices.

The glass fiber structures add durskill to the composite material.

The glass fiber structures add durskill to the composite material.

It is yet really early in the development system of this new ultrasonic 3D printing innovation, but as we’ve seen time and time again, this industry moves amazingly swift. It is not complex to imagine that we may be seeing 3D printing devices with this type of innovation hit the market within the future few years. You can read the entire paper compiling the research of the University of Bristol team called “3D Printed Components with Ultrasonically Arranged Microscale Structure” here.