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Building Planes from Modular Blocks
These “blocks” fit into a space known as a voxel, shorthand for volumetric pixel. Those voxels come together to create the larger wing, in the same way a digital image is made up of smaller pixels. They work like lightweight Lego bricks, forming structures that are able to be deconstructed and reconstructed easily into new shapes. This makes the design scalable, easier to model and adaptive for different tasks and needs. Even repairs and replacements are simplified, since there are fewer unique pieces that make up the aircraft.
Finding the right materials to make these components is just as essential as their design. By using a process known as injection molding – where unique materials like thermoplastic polymers are heated into a liquid state, injected into a mold, and then cooled to a solid state –the resulting lattice structures are as stiff and strong as more traditional metal structures.