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3D-Printed Rocket Engines

NASA Creates a Rocket Engine Using 3D Printing

— July 16, 2013 — Tech
NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine is one of the most groundbreaking creations of the year. The evolution of the uses for 3D printing are accelerating at literally light speed. Whether it's 3D-printed casts or prosthetic limbs, the ability for this technology to push the limits is astounding. NASA used selective laser printing that utilizes a high-powered laser to melt the structure while infusing it with metallic powders to both increase the heat resistance and strengthen it -- definitely not the traditional 3D printing most are used to.

Just how much of an impact could this make? As NASA explains, "This type of injector manufactured with traditional processes would take more than a year to make, but with these new processes it can be produced in less than four months, with a 70 percent reduction in cost." Not only is the process faster, but a reduction in cost of that size when looking at the huge amount of money it traditionally takes is literally a massive discovery. The future is definitely bright with NASA's 3D-printed rocket engines.
Trend Themes
1. Advanced Manufacturing - The use of new manufacturing processes, such as selective laser printing, can significantly reduce the production time and cost of complex products, creating opportunities for new applications and markets.
2. Space Exploration - 3D-printing technology can revolutionize space exploration by reducing the weight and increasing the efficiency of rocket parts and spacecraft systems, enabling new missions and discoveries.
3. Materials Science - The use of novel materials and composites, such as metallic powders infused with polymers or ceramics, can enhance the properties and functionalities of 3D-printed parts, driving innovation in multiple industries from aviation to medicine.
Industry Implications
1. Aerospace and Defense - With the potential to reduce the cost and increase the performance of rocket engines, 3D printing can disrupt the space industry by enabling new entrants, reducing launch costs, and accelerating the pace of innovation.
2. Healthcare and Medical Devices - By leveraging the flexibility and accuracy of 3D printing, medical device manufacturers can produce customized and patient-specific implants, prosthetics, and instruments, improving patient outcomes and reducing costs.
3. Automotive and Transportation - 3D printing can transform the way automotive and transportation companies design, prototype, and manufacture vehicles, from reducing the input materials to increasing the strength and durability of the parts, leading to lighter and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks.
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