Australian researchers build world's first 3D-printed jet engine
Australian researchers have created the world's first 3D-printed jet engine in a manufacturing breakthrough that engineers expect will lead to cheaper, lighter and more fuel-efficient jets.
Canberra: Australian researchers have created the world's first 3D-printed jet engine in a manufacturing breakthrough that engineers expect will lead to cheaper, lighter and more fuel-efficient jets.
The partnership between Melbourne's Monash University and Amaero Engineering company has captured the attention of Airbus, Boeing and defence contractor Raytheon, ABC reported Thursday.
The breakthrough will allow engineers to make and test parts in days instead of months.
"In the past you had to melt, mould, carve and turn to get the final product," Monash University's professor Ian Smith said.
"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 do with classic engineering technologies," Smith said.
Additive manufacturing or 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 process where their high-powered laser fuses powdered nickel, titanium or aluminium into the desired shape of objects.
"We're the only centre in the world that's developed the materials that goes into the printers so we can make stuff of sufficient quality," Smith added.
He said their technology could one day be used across metal and engineering manufacturing industries.
The 3D printed jet engine is currently on display at the Australian International Airshow in Avalon city.