ENP Newswire -
Release date- 08102013 - Researchers at The University of
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing has been termed a new industrial revolution. Using digital data, 3D printers print multiple thin layers of material such as polymer or metal, usually in powder form, which are then fused by lasers to form solid objects.
The technology allows levels of flexibility and customisation beyond traditional industrial methods and is revolutionising approaches to design and manufacturing.
The Additive Manufacturing and 3D
Student interns at
The impact of additive manufacturing - so-called because it uses 3D printers to build up material - is growing rapidly. The wider availability of 3D printers and the prospect of goods being customised and printed at home or on the high street has further raised interest.
As well as the prosthetic arm created in
He added: 'While there are many practical and regulatory issues to consider I firmly believe that 3D printing will be used in the medicines manufactured in the future.'
Professor Hague said additive manufacturing would help transform the industrial landscape, with more emphasis on smaller, localised manufacturing.
'At the moment 3D printing uses single materials, a polymer or a metal, which are fused together with a laser,' he said. 'You can create interwoven geometries but they're still passive. What we're looking to do is activate those and make them functionalise. So rather than make a component you make the whole system - an example might be rather than print a case for a mobile phone you make the whole phone - all the electronics, the case, the structural aspects, all in one print.'
Professor Hague added that a key strength of the research group was its close collaboration with colleagues working in the physical sciences at the University. The researchers were recently awarded a
Another exciting development is new research into the direct 3D printing of metal. 'That will be globally unique - nobody else will be working on that,' said Professor Hague. 'We are working with an industrial partner to develop a system that jets metal. At the moment you can only jet nano flakes of metal in a polymer ink.'
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