Girls in STEM

Update: Spotlight School Success

Update: Spotlight School Success

SUCCESS! Since electing Liberty Elementary School as our Spotlight School, we have come to adore the Liberty family more and more each day.  T

News and Insight

Search articles, videos and updates on 3D Printing and its growing presence in our world

Girls in STEM

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

This week, we bring you a short video on a STEM'tastic educator! Scroll down to WATCH this educator doing what she does best - teachi

Videos

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Watching super cool EDUCATIONAL videos from across the web is one of our favorite pastimes! Join us in learning more about 3D printing in the clas

Science and Math

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the season for GINGERBREAD and working the delicious treat into your family - and CLASSROOM - fun. Last week, as students across the

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Aerospace 3D Printing of Carbon Fiber Composites

By Staff Writter

Aerospace 3D Printing of Carbon Fiber Composites

Science and Math

Carbon fiber composite materials have a high strength to weight ratio and rigidity. They are lighter and as strong or even stronger than metal. These properties make them ideal for use in the Aerospace Industry. Carbon fiber composites are used in many airplane parts including fuselage and wing components. Fifty-three percent of the Airbus A350 XWB and fifty percent of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is made with carbon fiber composites. This material will also be used in the fan blades of jet engines.

Because of the utility of this material to the Aerospace Industry, it was good news when the world's first 3D printer that can print carbon fiber was unveiled at Solidworks World this year in San Diego. The device can print materials with long continuous fibers that are stronger than composites made with short, chopped carbon fill. It will also work with fiberglass which has a high strength to cost ratio and has an abundance of commercial applications. Other printable materials include Kevlar, nylon, and PLA. The carbon fiber 3D printer was developed by MarkForged. Greg Mark, graduate of the Aeronautics and Astronautics program at MIT, is the CEO.

The 3D printing of carbon fiber composites allows for a greater precision of fiber orientation than with injection molding or extrusion which are the traditional fabrication methods. Very complex multi layered parts with different fiber orientations for each layer is possible because of 3D printing's one layer at a time additive process.

A company that is exploring the possibilities of this capability is Arevo Labs. They have chosen not to develop 3D printers because there is already enough attention focused on that area. Instead, they are developing the innovative end products that are possible with carbon fiber printing. They have been perfecting matrix polymers reinforced with carbon fiber and carbon nanotubes. They are also developing extrusion techniques to make these materials more amenable to 3D printing. Other work includes software that facilitates the design of carbon composite parts to have specific mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties. Their technology is aimed at aerospace 3D printing as well as defense and medical OEMs.