AM Investment Strategies
AMS Spring 2023

Fabrisonic and Luna Innovations Making 3D Printed Smart Structures with Embedded Fiber Optic Sensors

Formnext

Share this Article

Ohio company Fabrisonic is well-known in the industry for its hybrid metal 3D printing process, called Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing (UAM), which uses high frequency ultrasonic vibrations to merge layers of metal foil together in a solid-state. Now, it’s collaborating with optical measurement technology leader Luna Innovations to make 3D printed smart structures.

The collaborative team will use these structures to answer questions such as finding a critical component’s exact strain during operation, and determining if improvements are possible by monitoring an additive manufacturing process in situ.

“Fabrisonic has commercialized a new metal 3D printing process, which occurs at very low temperatures, allowing the team to easily embed Luna fiber optic sensors into solid metal parts,” Fabrisonic’s president and CEO Mark Norfolk wrote. “With complementary technologies, Luna and Fabrisonic’s “smart structures” can be used to collect data for health monitoring and high fidelity command/control as well as for basic science and research.”

The SBIR/STTR program recently awarded the joint Fabrisonic and Luna Innovations team two separate research contracts, which will both focus on embedding sensors into key 3D printed parts in order to deliver important data from inside the components.

Metal build plate with embedded fiber optic sensors, which will be installed in a PBF 3D printer to study the process and quantify quality metrics.

The first research contract will focus on Fabrisonic and Luna developing a smart pipe for fuel systems at NASA. The program will use the pipe for fuel systems which will integrate Luna’s strain sensors into a 3D printed pipe wall to measure such things as heat flux, temperature, and pressure. The strain sensing fibers will be embedded into pipes made of stainless steel and aluminum, which will allow for the “continuous monitoring of strain in the pipe wall.”

Once the fibers have been embedded, Fabrisonic and Luna will seal and cyclically pressure the pipe in order to collect data. After successful calibration, the 3D printed pipe with integral sensing will make it possible for the team to achieve real-time telemetry of temperatures and pressure at multiple important points in NASA’s fuel systems.

The second contract involves the team using Fabrisonic’s UAM process to create a smart baseplate for laser powder bed fusion 3D printers with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). Fabrisonic will embed proprietary fibers from Luna into solid metal instrumented plates, which will be placed into a 3D printer to serve as a powder build’s beginning point.

Then, the team will use the Luna ODiSl measurement system, which measures the residual strain on complex surfaces of 3D printed components, in order to collect hundreds of temperature and strain data points during the build in real time. The ultimate project goal is to improve the overall methodology for powder bed fusion 3D printing processes, in addition to determining how to properly measure capability and anticipate any possible issues before they occur.

Additionally, the team at Fabrisonic and Luna is working with multiple other partners in order to embed fiber optic sensors in highly demanding environments, such as nuclear reactors.

To learn more about how Fabrisonic’s patented solid state UAM metal 3D printing process can be used to integrate fiber optic strain sensors and other temperature-sensitive components directly into dense metal, you can download and read a new technical paper, titled “Building Fiber Optic Strain Sensor into Metal Components,” that was written Dr. Adam Hehr, a Research Engineer at Fabrisonic.

Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

[Source/Images: Fabrisonic]

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printing News Briefs, October 1st, 2022: Flight-Ready Parts, Rapid Prototyping, & More

3D Printing News Unpeeled: 3D Printed MEMS, ASML and iCLIP



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing News Unpeeled: Boeing, Bauer, DBSchenker, Glidewell and Twikit

DB Schenker is to start a digital warehouse solution that lets you 3D print locally while they identify the right 3D printed parts, qualify them and qualify them. AM4AM is...

3D Printing News Briefs, September 29, 2022: Crowdfunding a 3D Printed House & More

We’re kicking things off with business in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, as a Dallas construction startup is looking to raise $2 million to 3D print homes. LÖMI joined the...

3D Printing News Unpeeled: General Atomics, SLA on Textile, Dyze Design

General Atomics works with Conflux to 3D print  Fuel Oil Heat Exchanger (FOHE) for the MQ-9B. The company also says that it saves $2 million on tooling and $300,000 in...

3D Printing News Unpeeled: Formlabs, Hasbro, AddUp and Collins

Today we learn of Hasbro and Formlabs teaming up to make 3D printed selfie action figures. AddUp and Sogeclair will work with Collins Aerospace to make actuation components for aerospace....