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FEATURE MATERIALS IN DESIGN & PROTOTYPING Material developments


In the aerospace industry there is demand for complex and specific material properties to ensure passenger safety


for concept verification, quick iterations at low cost are needed, for design validation, parts require dimensional stability as well as smooth surfaces. As the final part appearance is often tested at this stage, colour, translucency and opacity are also important. When it comes to functional testing, this is when part performance is crucial and requires materials with advanced mechanical and thermal properties and, in some cases, chemical resistance. Here, we need to ensure the materials can withstand the environmental conditions in which the final part would operate. Each application and industry, however, faces its own challenges.


With multiple industries set to spend millions on 3D printing this year, the need for tailored and advanced materials will


only increase. And, as the industry continues to innovate and meet these needs, the adoption of additive manufacturing will continue, as Zehavit Reisin, vice president of the Rapid Prototyping Unit at Stratasys, explains


n addition to innovative hardware, advanced software and strong partnerships, material development is crucial to the adoption of additive manufacturing. In the past, vendors focused their efforts on rapid prototyping but, as the demands for realism, fit, functionality and colour grew, so did the application potential. Now, users are harnessing the technology for the


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manufacture of complex and tough production tools, factory floor production aids, and even robust, final end-use parts. In many ways, additive manufacturing materials are the enablers to this.


PROTOTYPING


Every prototype goes through a distinct lifecycle: concept verification, design validation and functional testing. While,


AEROSPACE INDUSTRY The aerospace and rail industries have very strict regulations, with parts often needing to withstand gruelling conditions, all while still increasing efficiency, reducing cost and enhancing performance. At the top of every agenda is whether the material meets stringent flame, smoke and toxicity demands, as well as considering heat release and chemical susceptibility. The result is a demand for complex and specific material properties to ensure passenger safety. One area that is being looked at is aerospace manufacturers using additive manufacturing to switch heavier metal parts for strong, lightweight, 3D printed thermoplastic alternatives. Working closely with its customers, Stratasys has been able to develop a configuration and process methodology that allows for extreme repeatability. One of the results of this collaboration is high repeatability performance with ULTEM 9085 material,


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