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3D print technology intelligent machine components can remind users of machine damage
Aug 10, 2018

The UConn-UTRC team was able to embed sensor lines just 15 microns wide (the average width of a human hair is 100 microns across), 50 microns apart, so it could detect very slight damage. We can now integrate functionality into components to make them more intelligent. Sensors can detect any type of wear, even corrosion, and report this information to the end user. This helps us improve performance, avoid failures and save costs.


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          3D printing magnets created using direct writing techniques at the UTC research center


Creating such a precise sensor is not easy, and the researchers also used direct writing techniques to create polymer bonded magnets with complex geometry and arbitrary shapes. Imagine a magnet that can take different shapes and can be seamlessly installed between other functional parts. Furthermore, by changing the shape of the magnet, the resulting magnetic field can be further manipulated and optimized.

Current methods for making custom 3D printed magnets rely on high temperature curing, which, unfortunately, reduces the magnetism of the material. Scientists at UConn and UTRC use low-temperature ultraviolet light to solidify the magnet, similar to how dentists use ultraviolet light to harden the filler. The resultant magnets show better properties than those produced by other additive manufacturing methods. Embedding magnetic material directly into the components makes the new product design more aerodynamic, portable and efficient.


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