Air Force lab takes 3D printing to new heights
According to Hilmar Koerner, Ph.D., research team lead for polymer matrix composite materials and processes at the AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, “Additive manufacturing is important to the future of aerospace for a variety of reasons. Benefits include complexity enabled capability; low-volume, low-cost manufacturing; part reduction; improved form-fit function; tool-less part manufacturing; and lightweighting of interior hardware, such as air ducts, seat framework and wall panels.”
According to Jeffery Baur, Ph.D., leader of the AFRL Composite Performance Research Team, “Printing composites can produce parts with complex shapes and eliminates the need for the expensive pressure cooker and long heating cycles. The possibility to produce parts in the field or at a depot without a long logistics tail is a win-win scenario.”
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