BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight
24.04.2018 – 11:32
24.04.2018. At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then fusing it using selective laser sintering. Production is controlled by data models. Metallic powder is locally melted by intensive laser radiation in each layer. What makes this method special is that the application of the powder layers takes place under zero gravity conditions. For this purpose, a process gas - in this case nitrogen - is drawn through the powder layers in order to stabilise the powder bed without gravity.
The procedure has already been successfully tested in two parabolic flight campaigns in cooperation with the Clausthal University of Technology, and the Institute for Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Braunschweig. Metallic powders pose a challenge because they are potentially flammable and explosive. But the research group has developed a method that enables processing of metallic powders in space under a protective gas atmosphere.
"We used a completely new technology to print a wrench for the first time under zero gravity in our latest parabolic flight campaign in March," explains Prof. Jens Günster, project manager and head of BAM's Ceramic Processing and Biomaterials division. "We are pleased to be able to present our research results at the Hannover Messe and show our method's potential to the space industry."
Some of the processes used have already been internationally patented. They are based on two patent families that were jointly registered by BAM and Clausthal University of Technology within Germany and by BAM alone outside Germany.
BAM at the Hannover Messe 2018
At the BAM stand C 51 in Hall 2 Research & Technology visitors can receive additional information about this topic.
Venio Quinque, M.A., LL.M./LL.B.
Head of Section Corporate Communications
Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM)
Unter den Eichen 87
T: + 49 30 8104-1002
F: + 49 30 8104-71002
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