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NASA Developed The LWDC 3D Printing Process To Quickly Make Rocket Engine Nozzles
Mar 23, 2018

Located in huntsville, Alabama, NASA's Marshall space flight center engineers to develop and test a called laser direct polishing (LWDC) new material manufacturing technology.This 3D printing method can be used to make rocket engine nozzles at a lower cost in a shorter period of time.


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You may never have the kind of additive manufacturing equipment that NASA USES, but the 3D printing of space organizations is still the most fascinating in the world.We have been keeping a close eye on some of the 3D printed rs-25 rocket engines on its space launch system, and more of its 3D printing projects are usually equally interesting.

This week, engineers at NASA's Marshall space flight center revealed a new technology for additive manufacturing.It is called Laser Wire Direct Closeout, which can be used to make 3D printing rocket engine nozzles - faster and cheaper than other metal additive manufacturing technologies.

As the name suggests, LWDC is not a powder bed additive manufacturing process.Instead, 3D printing USES the free form of energy line deposition to make complex metal parts.The technology has been patented by NASA and is said to reduce manufacturing time from months to weeks.


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According to NASA engineers, the 3D printing process is designed to "close" the coolant channel of the printed nozzle precisely.These channels contain high pressure coolant to protect the extremely thin walls of the nozzle from extremely high temperature effects.

The United States national aeronautics and space administration (NASA) type of rocket motor nozzle were active cooling or cooling "regenerative", this means that the nozzle in manufacturing a series of channels, then in the burning propellant used in the circulation through the nozzle arrangement in order to properly cooling its wall.However, these channels must be sealed and sealed to contain high pressure coolant.

NASA's new LWDC 3D printing process effectively seals the coolant channel and forms a supporting "sheath" that responds to structural loads during engine runs.

Marshall engine parts development and technical division advanced propulsion engineer Paul Gradl said: "we promote the motivation of this technology is to develop a powerful technology, eliminate several steps in the process of traditional manufacturing."The manufacturing process becomes more complicated because the heat wall of the nozzle is only a few sheets of paper thickness and must be subjected to high temperature and strain during operation."

The 3D printing technology has been used by Keystone Synergistic in port st. lucie, Florida, which USES the LWDC to manufacture and test its own nozzles.The 3D printed rocket engine nozzles were tested at the Marshall space flight center for more than 1,040 seconds.

As part of the same study, NASA has also developed a kind of abrasive water jet grinding process, and the second 3D printing process, this process can produce near net shape of liner, used to hold jet mill.

All of these new technologies have been developed through NASA's small business innovation research program, which helps small businesses benefit from NASA's vast technological capabilities.