Masdar Institute Researchers Leverage 3D Printing to Fabricate Strong, Lightweight Metals and Plastics with Optimized Electrical, Thermal and Mechanical Properties
Researchers from the Masdar Institute have leveraged the unique capabilities of additive manufacturing – or 3-dimensional (3D) printing – to design strong, ultra-lightweight ‘architectured foam’ structures that have the potential to make vehicle bodies much lighter and stronger and improve water production and oil and gas operations.
The novel foams can be 3D printed with various materials such as plastics, metals, ceramics, and composite materials to enhance the thermal, electrical and mechanical properties of various engineering systems, including aerospace and automotive structural components. They can be used anywhere there is a need for very strong, lightweight and conductive materials, such as in the aerospace and defense industries, or they can be used in applications that require highly conductive or porous materials, such as the energy, water and medical industries.
“The foam structures have the potential to become a platform technology, driving innovations across key industries and markets,” said Masdar Institute’s Dr. Steve Griffiths, Vice President for Research. “This project demonstrates how Masdar Institute’s strong advanced materials research capabilities support disruptive technology-based innovations in the Institute’s core research areas of water and energy while benefiting other sectors of importance to the UAE.”
Masdar Institute’s Dr. Rashid Abu Al-Rub, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, is leading this collaborative research through the development of a computer model that can design thousands of different architectured foams. The research has been featured in over five peer-reviewed journals, including Composites Science and Technology.
“The key to the foams’ strength and light weight is in their internal geometry or what we refer to as internal architecture,” Dr. Abu Al-Rub explained.
Similar to how the Eiffel Tower achieves its strength through a lattice of steel beams and struts balanced against open air, Dr. Abu Al-Rub’s cellular materials – which are more than 90% air – achieve their strength through the airy, geometric arrangements of their internal structure.
“We are not creating new materials. Rather, we are re-architecting a given material, such as steel or plastic, by manipulating its internal geometry so that we can deliver the desired properties – whether stiffness, electrical conductivity, or porosity – to the material,” he added.
The model can generate thousands of foam structures, allowing the researchers to select the desired properties of the foam – such as enhanced thermal and electrical properties, lightweight and stiffness. Once designed in the model, the foams are then fabricated with a 3D printer.
The foams can be used as a three-dimensional continuous reinforcement, enhancing the properties of other solid materials, or they can be used independently as standalone foams.
The researchers are engaging with several companies to secure the proof-of-concept funding needed to accelerate the innovative foam’s commercialization.
One of the properties that can be manipulated and tailored by the computer model is the porosity of a structure in order to control the flow distribution of a gas or liquid, which is an important aspect of oil and gas operations, seawater desalination processes, wastewater treatment systems and catalytic converters.
“The foam structures could be used to maximize gas flow, and increase the conversion efficiency of catalytic converters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from car engines,” said Oraib Al-Ketan, a PhD student working with Dr. Abu Al-Rub.
As the foams’ architectures are extremely complex, they pose a challenge to traditional manufacturing processes. But thanks to recent technological advances in 3D printing (which creates objects by adding material layer by layer), the complex foams can be printed at extremely small dimensions, such as the nano-scale – a size scale a hundred-thousand times thinner than a human hair – or the macro scale – a size scale measured in millimeters. New York University Abu Dhabi’s Dr. Reza Rowshan, Director of Core Technology Platforms Operation, provided valuable collaboration to improve the performance and manufacturability of the 3D printed metallic foams.
“We have introduced a paradigm shift in how materials are being designed. Currently, people design materials based on a material’s existing chemistry, structure and its corresponding properties. Our vision for material design instead looks first at the desired properties you are targeting in a material for a product application and then applies our proprietary design methods to optimize the structure and its’ internal geometry so that it will give you those desired properties,” Dr. Abu Al-Rub said. As a next step in the development of this promising innovation, Dr. Abu Al-Rub is seeking industry collaborators to explore the applications of his 3D printed architecture foams in a number of key UAE sectors.
The Latest on: Architectured foam
via Google News
The Latest on: Architectured foam
- How Cymat Technologies (CYMHF) Alusion™ Division is Transforming Global Architectural Design on February 19, 2019 at 5:00 am
Cymat Technologies’ state-of-the-art Stabilized Aluminum Foam panels are shifting the paradigm for architectural design with a range of global construction projects and a continually growing distribut... […]
- The Purity and Architectural Beauty of Marble Facades on February 16, 2019 at 11:58 pm
To improve tolerance for this differential movement, a bond breaker, usually a polyethylene sheet or foam pad, may be installed between marble panels and concrete back-up. Likewise, accommodate ... […]
- Global $79.77 Bn Polyurethane Foam Market to 2023 - High Demand for Polyurethane Foam in Building Insulation for Energy Conservation on February 15, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Polyurethane Foam Market Key players in the polyurethane foam market ... Rigid Foams 7.3.1 Applications of Rigid Foams 18.104.22.168 Insulation 22.214.171.124 Decorative and Architectural Applications 126.96.36.199 Flot... […]
- Certification Proposed for Larkin Historic District on February 5, 2019 at 3:28 am
However secure the former tradition, with its habits of adaptive pragmatism and its inherited vocabulary of architectural forms ... and a factory for automotive parts manufacturer Par Foam Products. I... […]
- Architectural Precast Panel Manufacturers have Formwork Ally in ACH Foam Technologies on January 21, 2019 at 4:00 pm
WESTMINSTER, Colo., Jan. 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The desire for new and different in precast concrete often means enhancing exteriors with arches, etched insignias, and sculpted relief finishes. ... […]
- Engineered Foam Market – Review on Consumer Need 2025 on January 17, 2019 at 12:05 am
and flexible foam. Of these, flexible foams are used in cushioning and filtration, rigid foams are used in architectural and decorative applications and insulation; spray foams are used in packaging, ... […]
- How to Use Low-Expanding Foam on a Window Frame on July 24, 2018 at 10:17 pm
You will use it quickly. This type of foam also works well where plumbing fixtures enter through the floor. Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architect... […]
- ACH Foam Technologies’ Foam-Control® Fills the Void in Precast Architectural Panels on August 23, 2017 at 5:14 am
DENVER, Aug. 22, 2017 - Enterprise Precast Concrete of Texas, Operations Manager, Scott Davis is certain that a high-performance building envelope is one of the wisest investments anyone can make in c... […]
- ACH Foam Technologies’ Foam-Control® Plus+® Architectural Grade EPS Protects an Iowa Recreation Center from the Elements on June 26, 2017 at 5:00 pm
DENVER, June 27, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Just one year ago, ACH Foam Technologies changed the insulation industry by releasing Foam-Control® Plus+®, an architectural grade expanded polystyrene (EPS) i... […]
via Bing News