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3D-Printed Thrusters

This Thruster Was Made From a Special Platinum Alloy

— June 22, 2015 — Tech
The European Space Agency has successfully test-fired a 3D-printed platinum alloy thruster. The thruster combination chamber and nozzle were printed in layers using platinum-rhodium alloy, employing a laser printing machine normally used for creating jewelry.

The aim of putting together this thruster was to test out alternative manufacturing methods aimed at reducing material costs. Despite being unsure as to whether the manufacturing method would even work or whether the required metal powder would hold up, the scientists managed to create a viable thruster by employing layer-by-layer printing.

The development and succesful testing of this thruster goes to show that 3D-printing can indeed have viable applications in the aerospace industry. Moreover, this project also shows that costs can indeed by cut by streamlining production, whilst adding useful flexibility and diversity.
Trend Themes
1. 3d-printed Aerospace Components - Opportunities to disrupt conventional manufacturing methods and reduce material costs by 3D-printing complex aerospace components
2. Laser Printing Technology - Innovative use of laser printing technology in the creation of aerospace components, enabling precision manufacturing and reducing material wastage
3. Metal 3D Printing - Continued development of metal 3D printing for the manufacture of aerospace parts, paving the way for more cost-efficient and flexible production methods
Industry Implications
1. Aerospace - Opportunities to revolutionize aerospace manufacturing through the use of 3D printing technology, leading to more efficient and cost-effective production and streamlined supply chains
2. Jewelry - Cross-industry knowledge transfer between the jewelry and aerospace industries, as laser printing technology used in jewelry-making enables the creation of precision components for aerospace applications
3. Metals and Alloys - Continued development and research into the use of different metal alloys for 3D printing, allowing for the creation of durable and effective aerospace components with a high degree of accuracy
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