ORNL Uses New 3-D Printers To Break Down Development Barriers

By Graham Warwick graham.warwick@aviationweek.com
Source: AWIN First

Large printed parts can warp because areas with different thicknesses cool at different rates—a core technical challenge with additive manufacturing. Adding 13% by volume of chopped carbon fiber to the thermoplastic-pellet feedstock provides twice the strength and four times the stiffness, and stops parts-warping as they cool, says Love.

As a next step, ORNL is working with an equipment supplier to build the prototype of a single machine that will print plastic parts, machine them to final shape and wrap them in re-inforcing carbon-fiber tows to produce large structural components.

“We work with the equipment makers, because the OEMs want this technology throughout their supply base,” says Craig Blue, director of ORNL’s advanced manufacturing program.

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