3D-Printed ‘Smart’ Machine Components Alert Users to Damage

Published by , August 7, 2018 1:42 pm

(AZoSensors) researchers at the United Technologies Research Center and UConn have developed ‘smart’ machine components that alert users when they are worn or damaged through the use of an advanced form of 3D printing known as direct write technology. In contrast to conventional additive manufacturing, which employs lasers to fuse layers of fine metal powder into a solid object, the direct write technology uses semisolid metal ‘ink’ that is extruded from a nozzle. The metal ink’s viscosity looks like toothpaste being pressed out from a tube.
This process enabled the UConn-UTRC researchers to form fine lines of conductive silver filament that can be embedded into 3D printed machine components while they are being created. The lines, which are capable of conducting electric current, serve as wear sensors that can identify damage to the part.

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