"Additive Manufacturing will continue to grow within NASA"
NASA engineers push the limits of technology by designing rocket engines and aero-space components that take advantage of additive manufacturing. 3D printers can build parts by layering metal powder and fusing it together with a laser, a process known as selective laser melting. The latest innovation comes with NASA’s recent breakthrough: manufacturing a full-scaled copper rocket engine part. This accomplishment is another milestone in additive manufacturing and might help NASA to continue their journey to Mars.
In the lead-up to Smart iAM, Automotive IQ interviewed Craig Brice, Materials Research Engineer with the Advanced Materials and Processing Branch at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Mr. Brice has over 15 years experience in additive manufacturing and materials research and development with a research focus on alloy development and material characterization.
Mr. Brice, when did additive manufacturing become a considerable option for NASA and what impact has it since then?
NASA has been exploring additive manufacturing at the research level for well over 10 years. It is only recently that it has become a real option for creating structural components for current NASA programs and missions. AM is well suited for single use, highly complex rocket structures that are currently very expensive to produce. AM will continue to grow within NASA as more programs have become aware of the benefits it affords.
Interested in learning more about NASA's approach for additive manufacturing? Download the full interview here...