Weekly Tech Roundup | Jun 21, 2019

Weekly tech roundup: 3D printing technology edition

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This week’s tech roundup features innovative technologies that can be licensed by businesses and introduced into the accelerating 3D printing market.

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3D-printed artificial lungs

A biomedical engineer at the Department of Veterans Affairs has designed a 3D-printed artificial lung for treating lung disease. The new artificial lung design and build process can provide improved gas exchange, portability, and biocompatibility.

After integration into various complete systems, it is anticipated that the devices can provide lung rest for patients suffering from acute pulmonary disabilities, serve as a bridge to transplant for patients with chronic lung disease and lung cancer, and lead to the development of the first implantable artificial lung for semi-permanent support. The technology can also be used in portable heart-lung machines for surgical care on the battlefield.

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High temperature, high pressure sensors made of carbon nanotubes and polymer ceramics with 3D printing

There are no reliable sensors systems that can provide in-flight status checks of hypersonic missiles traveling at high altitudes through extreme temperatures ranges.

In response, the Air Force and Florida State University researchers have developed sensors with a ceramic coil inductor and carbon nanotubes (CNTs). This material combination leverages the stiff and strong CNTs and the thermal properties of ceramic materials.

These sensors would be ideal for use in chemical processing, power generation, and engine monitoring for missiles, airplanes and ground vehicles.

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A 3D printed building created by the Army Corps of Engineers, ERDC. The gantry mounted printer is seen at far right.

Large format 3D printing for building construction

Army engineers have invented a 3D concrete printer that can create buildings.

It is capable of printing with multiple different materials, including homogeneous materials, such as cement paste, or heterogeneous materials, such as concrete.

The integrated, computer-controlled apparatus includes a pump assembly, noses, and printhead assembly.

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Improved slicer algorithms for 3D printing

Common slicer algorithms apply predetermined geometric transformations to each slice and fail to take into account the overall geometry of the part being produced. This explicit evaluation method can lead to structural problems such as thin walls and gaps that degrade the overall integrity of the part.

As an alternative to explicit algorithms, Navy researchers have developed implicit methods which use a designer-defined in-fill pattern for each layer.

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Sheath flow 3D printer head

The Navy has pioneered and advanced a technique in controlling flow at the micro-scale called sheath flow. This revolutionary system uses static geometric features to sculpt material distributions.

The system utilizes a core stream and one or more sheath streams that are introduced into a single channel. The scientists have demonstrated that this microfluidic handling innovation is readily adaptable to 3D printing.

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Headshot Image of Austin Leach, PhD, CLP

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