Tag Archives: 3D printing

3D-printed system speeds up solar cell testing from hours to minutes

Australian scientists flag dramatic improvement to next-gen perovskite R&D

A detail from the new 16-channel parallel characterisation system.
Credit: Adam Surmiak, Xiongfeng Lin

Tests on new designs for next-gen solar cells can now be done in hours instead of days thanks to a new system built by scientists at Australia’s Monash University, incorporating 3D-printed key components.

The machine can analyse 16 sample perovskite-based solar cells simultaneously, in parallel, dramatically speeding up the process.

The invention means that the performance and commercial potential of new compounds can be very rapidly evaluated, significantly speeding up the development process.

Continue reading 3D-printed system speeds up solar cell testing from hours to minutes

From sky to hospital

Working together to create advanced manufacturing industries

The maiden flight of the COMAC C919 airliner in May 2017 illustrated China’s ambition in advanced manufacturing.

Many of the airliner’s parts are made using 3D printing, and Australian engineers are working with their Chinese colleagues to develop the technology further.

Continue reading From sky to hospital

3D printing carbon fibre at industrial scale

Swinburne University researchers have developed a way to bring 3D printing with carbon fibre composites to an industrial scale.

Strong, lightweight carbon fibre composites can be used to make everything from aeroplanes and high-end race cars to sports equipment, and they are in high demand.

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Printing in metal

Australia’s pioneering 3D metal printing technology is now at work in Toulouse, printing components for the French aerospace company, Safran Power Units.

3D printing has the potential to transform manufacturing, allowing rapid prototyping of components, and the creation of lighter and more efficient components that would be impossible to make using traditional casting technologies. But there are many challenges to overcome to ensure that the components meet the intense engineering and regulatory requirements of the aerospace industry. Continue reading Printing in metal

Hypersonic travel

Brussels to Sydney in less than three hours

A passenger jet could one day fly halfway around the world in just a few hours. That’s the goal of the HEXAFLY project (High-speed Experimental FLY): going beyond the supersonic realm pioneered by the now-defunct Concorde to reach hypersonic speeds more than five times as fast as sound.

Led by the European Space Agency, the project has now brought on international collaborators to prepare for an early stage test flight planned for 2020.

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Converting body heat into useable electricity

Imagine if your exercise clothes could generate enough electricity to power your workout gadgets. This could be a reality in a few years with the development of a flexible, self-charging, non-leaky battery (or thermocell) that could convert body heat into power for devices such as fitness trackers. Continue reading Converting body heat into useable electricity

From jet engines to personalised surgical tools

The Monash scientists who led the creation of the world’s first 3D-printed jet engine in 2015 are now improving the design and cost of manufacturing medical implants, surgical tools, aerospace components, and more.

They’ve been working with surgeons to design tools for specific operations, to replace ‘one-size-fits-all’ tools currently available.

Continue reading From jet engines to personalised surgical tools

Printing a cartilage repair kit

A new printing technology can now simultaneously print living stem cells and the environment they need to survive and become the right cell type. The first application is a cartilage repair kit.

“Our current 3D printers can integrate living and non-living materials in specific arrangements at a range of scales, from micrometres to millimetres,” says Professor Gordon Wallace, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) at the University of Wollongong.

“And we’re developing new approaches that will enable 3D printing of nano-dimensional features.”

Continue reading Printing a cartilage repair kit

Press print for more body parts

“You can’t teach anatomy without bodies. Or at least you couldn’t until now,” says Monash University’s Paul McMenamin.

He and his colleagues are printing 3D plastic body parts of unprecedented detail and accuracy that have the potential to revolutionise anatomy teaching.

The printed parts will hold up to repeated handling and close study. Credit: Centre for Human Anatomy Education
The printed parts will hold up to repeated handling and close study. Credit: Centre for Human Anatomy Education

Anatomy students need a high degree of familiarity with the intricate details of the human body. That ideally comes with repeated handling and hands-on study. But students are often reluctant to touch a cadaver any more than necessary.

Removing the emotional, ethical and physical restrictions to close handling and repeated study improves the students’ familiarity with the human body. Another advantage of the printing is the expertly applied false colouring picking out intricate nerves, veins, arteries and ligaments that are much harder to identify in preserved cadavers.

Continue reading Press print for more body parts