As 3D printing becomes more widely used and final parts become more readily available, there is a growing need to assess the quality of parts designed by additive manufacturing. For this reason, researchers from Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a new imaging method that could be used to identify the exact properties and characteristics of 3D printed metal parts. By analyzing the amount of material in the part and determining its microstructure, this new application of NTU could prove extremely beneficial in a number of industries, including but not limited to automotive and aerospace, where 3D printing is often used to design even end-use products. rooms.
The main advantages of the NTU imaging method are probably the speed of evaluation it offers as well as its cost. Matteo Seita, assistant professor at NTU, explained, “Thanks to our inexpensive and fast imaging method, we can easily distinguish good 3D printed metal parts from defective ones. Currently, it is impossible to tell the difference without evaluating in detail the microstructure of the material. No two 3D printed metal parts are equal, even if they were produced using the same technique and have the same geometry. Conceptually, this is akin to how two otherwise identical wooden artifacts can each possess a different grain structure.
A solution to speed up the certification of parts?
While current coin analysis methods, based on the use of scanning electron microscopes, cost between $73,000 and $1.5 million, NTU’s imaging software would provide similar results for $18,400. according to university researchers. Accompanied by his team, Matteo Seita explains that their imaging process offers the possibility of determining the properties of the metals used as well as the resistance of the part. All this in 15 minutes. To do this, scientists use an optical camera, a lamp and a computer with imaging software.
After coating the 3D printed part with chemicals, the lamp illuminates the metal while the optical camera captures multiple images. Once this step has been completed, the software developed by the NTU analyzes the many microscopic crystals that make up the part and are responsible for its properties. Much faster and less expensive than conventional methods, this imaging method could be used by organizations in charge of certifying 3D printed parts. You can read more in the newspaper HERE.
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