Print me a full-size jet engine...
The research project funded by the Australian Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) was led by Prof Xinhua Wu, head of the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing (MCAM) and held in collaboration with Deakin University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The project aimed to systematically assess the potential and commercial viability of various additive manufacturing technologies such as Electron Beam Melting (EBM), Selective Laser Melting (SLM), and cold spray technology for the production of realistic components and the assembly of typical full-size engines. An additional objective was to establish realistic comparative costs study with respect to more conventional manufacturing techniques such as casting.
The multi-disciplinary team of researcher from the Monash centre for additive manufacturing led the research and development for laser-based 3Dprinting. SLM-specific process and parameters development of various commercially available materials such as nickel-, aluminium- and titanium-based alloys and their mechanical properties were investigated to produce high value metal components such as combustion chambers, compressors, nozzle exhaust, gear box housings, etc… The multi-components engine was successfully built generating valuable information on the viability and specificities of SLM. Key knowledge in SLM-specific re-design of components and information on surface roughness generation and mechanical properties of SLMed alloys was also generated.
The MCAM team first used state of the art SLM technology such as EOS M280 and Concept Xline 1000R to reproduce sound original components (pictured top). In a second step, they proposed and built commercially viable new designs and assemblies optimised to combine high performance output and take full advantage of SLM technology.
Following this successful release of a full scale jet engine, the university's Centre for Additive Manufacturing in Clayton has also signed off on a deal with French aerospace group Safran to print out a bigger, more complex engine for commercial testing by the end of next year.
The deal comes as Monash opened on 19th November a $9 million research hub which aims to breathe new life into Australia's manufacturing sector via 3D printing technology.
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