3D Metal Printer System for Adjusting Mechanical Property of a Structure During Manufacture and Easily Separating the Printed Structure from a Platform without Damage.
Conventional 3d-printer system performs heat-treatment after completion of printing of structure and this prevents heat-treatment for inner part of the printed-structure. Also, it is difficult to separate printed-structure from platform without damage since the bottom part of structure is strongly attached to the upper surface of platform. The novel 3d-printer system comprises: 3D-metal-printer which stacks and processes a structure by melting metal powder by laser, heat-treatment unit performing heat-treatment per layer during stacking and processing of the structure, main controller to control operation of 3D-metal-printer and heat-treatment unit, and a platform installed in the 3D-metal-printer, comprising a pair of a left and a right platform, and an elevation cylinder installed at a lower end of the right and the left platform and elevating the right and the left platform so as to detach the printed structure from the platform. The heat-treatment unit further includes: a heat-treatment-atmosphere-controller to control heat-treatment atmosphere of a space where heat-treatment is performed, the heat-treatment-atmosphere-controller comprising atmosphere-gas-supply means and atmosphere-gas-dispensing means; a heat-treatment-path-output for quenching outer surface of the structure to harden the surface and for annealing/tempering inner part and core of the structure so that selective heat-treatment can be performed depending on plane position.
Real-Time Identification of Erroneous 3D Print Designs
Georgia Tech inventors have designed a system for the identification of erroneous 3D prints through a multi-layer scheme that leverages acoustics, spatial sensing, and imaging techniques to identify internal print errors. This is completed during and after the printing process. The identification scheme bypasses both the controller computer and the printer firmware, and does not require any changes. The acoustic monitoring, done with an inexpensive microphone and filtering software, can detect changes in the printer’s sound that may indicate installation of malicious software. To create the desired object, the printer’s extruder and other components should follow a consistent mechanical path that are observed by inexpensive sensors. Variations from the expected path could indicate an attack, sending a signal to the manufacturer. By using the Raman Spectroscopy and computed tomography, researchers were able to detect the location of gold nano-rods that are mixed in with the filament material used in the 3D-printer. Variations from the expected location of thos
Sample preparation tools using novel scribing and cleaving technology
LatticeGear was founded on the premise that preparation of wafer and other substrates for further processing or inspection should be fast, clean and affordable. The LatticeAx, FlipScribe and FlexScribe, each with their unique features, full fill these objectives by scribing, indenting and/or cleaving. The dry mechanical processes eliminate the need for lubricants (water and oil), heat (lasers) that can often damage delicate materials, films and devices and are used by other sample preparation technologies. The patented LatticeAx mechanizes and systemizes the most common, basic manual scribe and cleave process practiced daily in laboratories using fingers and handheld tools. To cleave a sample, a weak point must first be created, typically by scribing and more uniquely by indenting, which is what the LatticeAx does, then the sample is cleaved by creating stress on the weak point. The device integrates indenting and cleaving into one tool and includes a platform for supporting a substrate, novel diamond indenter and cleaving mechanism. The patented FlipScribe uniquely scribes the backside of the sample, keeping the front side clean and damage free. The fast, clean, dry, accurate and repeatable process has transformed sample preparation in laboratories and fabs from a roadblock to a non-issue.
State College, PA
Multi-spectral Method for Defect Detection in Powder Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing
A multi-spectral sensor system has been developed that allows for real-time, in-situ (as opposed to post-build) defect detection in parts formed from powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (PBFAM). Build quality is assessed by measuring the line-to-continuum ratio of Chromium (Cr I) emission lines around 520 nm and continuum emission around 530 nm from a melt pool and plume during the build process. The emissions are indicative of defects (e.g. lack of fusion and porosity) within a part. For example, build quality can be measured as percentage of voids within the part. Test results indicate that a higher magnitude spectral response is correlated to a higher percent void.
Ultrasonic Pulsed Doppler Technology for Nanoparticle Characterization
The Ultrasonic Pulsed Doppler technique uses a single transducer to launch a tone burst at a specific ultrasonic frequency into a suspension of moving nanoparticles and to receive the energy backscattered from the particles. As the particles are in motion, the backscattered energy is Doppler shifted and appears at frequencies differing from that of the original wave depending on the particle velocities. In the simplest USPD system, particles are set in motion by the interrogated signal itself, and as we have discovered, the velocities to which particles are so accelerated are a monotonic function of their size. Thus, the spectrum of backscattered waves contains all the information required to produce a particle size distribution, typically with higher resolution than commonly achieved with existing instruments. As only a single small transducer is required, these measurements do not require dedicated instrumentation; they can be applied in a wide variety geometries (e.g. in sample vials, in processing equipment in which real time measurements can monitor particle processing.) Moreover, opaque suspensions can be measured without need for dilution required for optical methods. The method also holds the promise of measurement of particle physical properties not measurable by optical or other methods.
Continuous Dual Track Fabrication of Polymer Micro/nanofibers Based on Direct Drawing
There is a growing interest in efficient and economical methods and devices for manufacturing nanofibers composed of a wide range of materials. However, the accessibility of nanofiber materials is limited because the production of polymer nanofibers is generally challenging using conventional extrusion methods. While recent advancements have led to new manufacturing techniques such as electrospinning, it requires high electrical voltage and a polar solvent system. To improve on the current nanofabrication methods, an automated track spinning system was developed to be more energy efficient and solvent versatile. The system is based on a simple manual fiber drawing process that is automated by using two oppositely rotating tracks. Fibers are continuously spun by direct contact of polymer solution coated tracks followed by mechanical drawing as the distance between the tracks increases. The track spinning method is able to form fibers from high viscosity solutions and melts that are not compatible with some other nanofiber fabrication methods. Further, the setup is simple and inexpensive to implement, nozzle-less, does not require an electric field or high-velocity jets, and the tracks can be patterned/textured for aligned fiber arrays to scale up fiber yield.
Retractable 3D Zipper For Extended Length
A 3D zipper style mechanism that is used to obtain 3D extension pole from flat pieces chained together. When it is unzipped, the chains can be stacked or rolled individually to save spaces. When zipped, the pieces are interlocked and can be used as a regular hollow extension pole. The extension pole is electrically stretched or retracted. It will be self-locked to supply support at any desired position. The design can be easily integrated into outside broadcasting van, boom lift, fire fighting trucks. It can also be used as a more stable alternative to the ladders used by homeowners or contractors. The device can be used to provide temporary or fast deployment of antenna/cell tower in disaster areas or emergency situations. It can also be used to provide retractable/stretchable reach for robots, painters or other applications. It can also be used to form larger structures such as space stations.
The ability to engineer strong nanofiber materials is of great interest in numerous fields including aerospace, automotive, biomedical and construction. Electrospinning is a simple method capable of producing polymer nanofibers. It is observed in conventionally manufactured and electrospun fibers that mechanical strength increases when diameter is reduced. However, electrospun nanofibers are weaker than conventionally manufactured fibers, despite greatly reduced diameters. This lack of mechanical strength in electrospun fibers is attributed to the absence of post-processing stages, such as drawing and tensioning, which are commonly used in fiber production to increase strength by 5-15x. The Automated-Track design is able to overcome the limitations of electrospinning by implementing a processing stage capable of simultaneous collection and drawing fibers. This design is able to draw individual fibers immediately as they are collected, tightly control processing parameters, and process thousands of nanofibers at once. This approach successfully combines electrospinning and a critical post-processing stage and has shown to increase the ultimate tensile strength of polycaprolactone fibers by 7.4x and polyacrylonitrile fibers by 4.5x. The method is compatible with most polymers which can be collected across parallel plates and is anticipated to be compatible with high-throughput methods for scalability.
ARISTOTLE (A Rarefied gas, Industrial Simulation Tool On The cLoud Environment)
Our innovative approach wraps a user-friendly, web-based interface around the best available low-pressure gas flow simulation library. ARISTOTLE leverages the SPARTA direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) library, developed with DOE funding by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) for high fidelity gas flow simulations. It is exclusively licensed to SSI to be integrated in a commercial product. Since its release ~2.5 years ago, the library has been successfully applied to low-pressure gas flows by experts. Over thirty peer reviewed journal and conference papers have demonstrated that it is valid across the entire flow regime experienced in vacuum chambers, with favorable comparison with available measured data. Wider adoption of the library is constrained by current simulation requirements of access to super-computing clusters and user interactions solely through a text-based, command line interface. ARISTOTLE removes this barrier with a cloud computing model coupled to a user-friendly web interface, allowing industry to effectively use the library without requiring detailed understanding of the entirety of the SPARTA paradigm and without the large hardware investment for high performance computing capabilities. We expect that it will revolutionize the design processes for a wide variety of applications in multiple markets.
A novel multi-jet polishing technology for ultra-precision freeform surfaces
Ultra-precision freeform surfaces have been widely applied in many fields such as aerospace, photonics, optics, biomedical, etc. However, the low polishing efficiency of fluid jet polishing (FJP) adversely affects its application in polishing large-sized components or components made of difficult-to-machine materials. Hence, a multi-jet polishing (MJP) technology was developed which attempts to largely boost the polishing efficiency, while maintaining good surface quality. The MJP makes use of an array of orifices which are designed to be integrated into one multi-jet polishing nozzle which can work under either integrated polishing mode or discrete polishing mode. In integrated polishing mode, all jets have the same fluid pressure, and the jet array is considered to be a large polishing pad to boost the polishing efficiency. In discrete polishing mode, the pressure of each jet is controlled independently, which can implement curvature adaptive polishing of multi-regions simultaneously. The MJP further extends the application of abrasive water jet machining to medium- to large-sized surfaces. On the other hand, the poor surface quality of 3D printed surfaces is one of the critical factors limiting the development of 3D printing technology. The MJP has great potential to be applied for the post-process finishing of 3D-printed components.
Resonance Imaging Microscopy
RIM technology uses scattered light to provide rapid online imaging and measurement of particle with varied size and shape ranging from hundreds of microns to tens of nanometres. By collating single-particle measurements, statistically representative shape descriptions and particle size distributions are obtained with a speed comparable to conventional image analysis (viz. on the time scale of seconds/minutes via real-time analysis). Minimal sample preparation is required, and particles may be freely diffusing in solution, or deposited onto a surface. RIM technology also operates over an unparalleled range of length scales spanning from the nanometre to the millimeter regime; this means that for large objects traditionally measured using video microscopy RIM technology can offer superior precision, while no other combination of techniques currently exists to deliver equivalent functionality on the sub-micron length scale.
A simple, energy and cost-efficient process to isolate oils and high value commodities from oil-bearing microbes including algal biomass
The ability to recover lipids and proteins from microorganisms (e.g. microalgae) is of increasing commercial interest due to the ability to produce these commodities without the need for arable land and fresh water. Commercial processes (wet and dry oil extraction and hydrothermal processing) for producing products from biomass are energy intensive, utilise toxic solvents and are costly. This limits exploitation to mainly nutraceuticals. To expand the value of algae to new markets, new cost-effective processes are required. The technology details a simple, energy efficient and cost-effective process which rapidly destabilises complex stable emulsions that result during algal biomass processing. This enables simple isolation of oils and proteins, which reduces costs, energy consumption and chemical contamination, while avoiding damage to high value proteins and lipids. Proof-of-concept studies validate the process. Key advantages of the process include, avoidance of toxic organic solvents for extraction, reduction in energy consumption due to the avoidance of thermal drying and solvent evaporation, and a demulsifier-free process which avoids high temperatures and added chemicals which can degrade proteins and lipids. Due to the simple, cost-effective, and scalable nature of the process, it is envisaged this technology can open new markets for algae, including biofuels and food.
A microwave induced plasma based on a microstrip split-ring resonator (MSRR) operating at atmospheric pressure. Devices are fabricated on commercially available 2.5 mm thick dielectric substrates with 9 µm thick copper coating on both faces. One face is machined or etched to generate a ring-shaped pattern and the other face is used as a ground plane. When microwave power is coupled into the split-ring resonator, the plasma is ignited in the gap region of the split ring. The plasma can be sustained with as little as 0.2W power input and 20-30V making it safe, long-lived and efficient. The design is resistant to electrode erosion, sputtering or chemical damage. To avoid contamination of the signal or electrodes, a layer of glass or other insulator can be placed between the electrodes and the plasma. The technology is simple, easily scalable and miniaturizable at low cost. Four potential application for such MSRR plasma devices are as follows: (1) use as an excitation device for a portable Optical Emission Spectrometer, (2) use an ionization source for portable Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometers, (3) as a source for plasma medicine and (4) as a source for sterilization of contaminated surfaces.
Gentle, Robot Gripper
Our gripper, Gentle, is fully electrically actuated. Electrical motors are used to drive multiple fingers in a cable-driven design. This technology allows for extremely simple position and speed controls which is a first in the soft gripper space as soft robots have traditionally used pneumatic actuation that caused extreme complexity in the control side of the operation. Additionally, Gentle is a cost-effective, light-weight, plug-and-play system. This is a notable advantage as existing pneumatic systems require a large compressor and a large control box adding to the cost and limiting the deployability or robots. Ease of use, deployability, and price advantages will allow small- to medium-size business organizations to adopt robotic automation technologies and thus grow the market for delicate object handling and packaging beyond what is possible today.