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The aviation company Pratt & Whitney is exploring whether technology known as additive manufacturing could be used to develop more compact jet engines that could make commercial airplanes lighter and more fuel efficient.+
Pratt & Whitney already uses two additive manufacturing techniques to make some engine components. Instead of casting metal in a mold, the methods involve forming solid objects by partially melting a metal powder with either a laser or an electron beam. Other aircraft makers use similar technology; GE, for example, creates fuel nozzles for jet engines using its own additive manufacturing techniques (see “Breakthrough Technologies 2013: Additive Manufacturing”).+
The methods being used by GE and Pratt & Whitney are more complex and sophisticated than desktop 3-D printing, which involves creating objects by depositing ultrathin layers of material successively (see “The Difference Between Makers and Manufacturers”).+
Additive manufacturing processes can reduce waste, speed up production, and enable designs that might not be feasible with conventional production processes. The novel shapes and unusual material properties the technology makes possible—such as propeller blades optimized for strength at one end and flexibility at the other—could change the way airplanes are designed.
originally posted by: Zaphod58
CMC and additive manufacturing are going to revolutionize air travel.
I saw my first sample of this tech nearly 15 years ago. It was what appeared to solid tool steel bar 2" in Dia., when sectioned it was actually hollow with a spiral fluted inner structure of bronze. It was very impressive.
But , metal strength depends on grain structure and that structure cam be both temp/time
dependant and or physical structure dependant.
A part made from a physical vapor deposited material will never the same mechanical properties as a forged and quenched and tempered or otherwise heat treated part. And another thing you can remove metal way faster than you can add it on.
But I can see it has uses in specific applications.