It’s amazing what can spring from an accident in the science lab. From penicillin to dynamite, you never know what might happen when you mix brilliant minds with new technology and materials. As experimentation ensues or testing is on its way to being completed for an already decided upon product, it would seem that when we keep an open mind, other applications can often benefit even more. This has definitely been the case with Ceramic Matrix Composites from 3Dynamic Systems, headquartered in the UK.
While developing a new 3D printing material using ceramics meant for bone implants, scientists in charge of the project were in for quite a surprise. The story began as 3Dynamic Systems began working with a revolutionary new 3D printing platform that involves ceramic micro fibers embedded in a polymer matrix, which allow for a composite that is ceramic-fiber reinforced. The suspension is 3D printed to form structures, fired in a furnace to 1450°C to translate the model into a CMC component.
“This new technique shows excellent potential. We started to work on this material as a means to build a new type of bone implant,” said Dr. Daniel J. Thomas, the lead scientist working on the materials and 3D printing process for 3Dynamic Systems. “However, due to an inadvertent mistake in the fabrication process, we found that we had produced a material which has desirable structural and thermal properties.”
According to 3Dynamic Systems, this advanced printing material is able to withstand very high temperatures and produce outstanding 3D printed models that can be extruded anywhere from 285°C to above 315°C.
“The thermoplastic used as binding material for transferring the ceramic is stable up to 325°C,” states the 3Dynamic Systems team in their latest press release.
Upon their discovery of the ceramic materials’ superior properties, the company has now realized that it is an excellent choice for creating parts that are meant for the aerospace sector. And with this new 3D printing process in ceramics, ‘exotic new shapes’ can be created, featuring complex hollow internal cooling sections that make up one whole piece.
There’s no question that 3D printing in aerospace is being heavily explored and is in use already from major companies, and projections show that there will be huge spending for both space and defense by 2022. Organizations like NASA have actually been involved with 3D printing and additive manufacturing for decades, but now are using the technology for numerous components, from turbopumps to engines. We also see a great deal of exploration into the use of the technology with ceramics from space vehicles to medical implants to extremely innovative artwork.
“As the aerospace industries demand for aerospace components that can handle higher temperatures drives the sector, then a new market for advanced 3D printed components can forge ahead,” stated 3Dynamic Systems in their press release.
A Swansea University UK-based 3D Bioprinting manufacturer, 3Dynamic Systems is also very involved in the study of bioprinting and has manufactured the Alpha and Omega 3D Bioprinters, targeting the areas of stem cell, cancer, and antibodies research. Discuss this new technology further in the 3Dynamic Systems Concrete 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.