Development hailed as a potential breakthrough in aircraft manufacture after university-CSIRO joint project prints two gas turbine engines
Australian researchers have created the world’s first 3D-printed jet engines, a breakthrough that could change the way aircraft are constructed.
Researchers from Monash University, aided by staff from the CSIRO and Deakin University, have printed two engines and put one of them on display at the International Air Show in Avalon, Victoria.
Monash and its spin-off company Amaero Engineering have registered interest from Airbus, Boeing and Raytheon, the defence manufacturer.
Researchers were given an old gas turbine engine by French firm Safran to copy, printing out two versions. The year-long process was led by Prof Xinhua Wu, the director of the Monash centre for additive manufacturing.
The aerospace industry is interested in the process of printing parts because of the reduced lead time, the lighter weight of parts and lower production costs.
Monash created the parts of the engine using printers that spread a very thin layer of metal powder across a base plate. A laser then formed the required shape using a computer-generated outline. This process was repeated over and over again until the part was completed.
“The project is a spectacular proof of concept that’s leading to significant contracts with aerospace companies,” said Ben Batagol, of Amaero Engineering.
“It was a challenge for the team and pushed the technology to new heights of success – no one has printed an entire engine commercially yet.”
Source: The Guardian