Australian researchers build 3D printed jet engines in world first

Australian researchers build 3D printed jet engines in world first

2015/3/3

Australian researchers have created the world's first 3D-printed jet engine in a breakthrough that engineers believe will lead to lighter, cheaper, and more fuel- efficient jets.


Local media reported on Thursday that Monash University scientists made the breakthrough which has captured the attention of aviation manufacturing giants Boeing and Airbus, which have already ordered prototypes from the researchers.


It means jet engines and spare parts could be tested and produced in days and not months.


It would also mean aviation factories would not have to regularly upgrade machinery to meet developing equipment standards.


"In the past you had to melt, mould, carve and turn to get the final product," Monash University Professor Ian Smith told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


"This way we can very quickly get a final product, so the advantages of this technology are, firstly, for rapid prototyping and making a large number of prototypes quickly.


"Secondly, for being able to make bespoke parts that you wouldn 't be able to with classic engineering technologies."


3D printing is a process where 3D designs of items such as guns are downloaded into a printer which then recreates the item by using laser-fusion.


Until now the technology has used powdered plastic polymers.


But the Australian researchers have developed a secret process where their high-powered laser fuses powdered nickel, titanium or aluminum into the shape of objects.


"We're the only center (in the world) that's developed the materials that goes into the printers so we can make stuff of sufficient quality," Professor Smith said.


He added their technology could one day be used across the metal and engineering manufacturing industries.


The 3D printed jet engine was unveiled this week at the Australian International Airshow in Avalon.


(Source: Xinhua)




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