Article

"Architectured foams" from the research lab of Abu Dhabi to 'restructure' materials for industries?

  • Nimish Sany
  • 14 June , 2016

Say hi to the highly efficient, lightweight 3D printed “architectured foam” structures that could potentially change the industries depending on material science. A research team led by Dr. Rashid Abu Al-Rub of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi has successfully devised a new way of 3D printing complicated structures from existing metals, ceramics or plastic by tweaking the internal structure and thereby allowing more flexibility and rigidity within the structure. Expected to kick off a storm in aerospace, defense, medical, gas and automotive industries, these structures can be programmed during the design phase so as to achieve the desired electrical, mechanical and thermal properties.

“We are not creating new materials. Rather, we are re-architecting a given material, such as steel or plastic, by manipulating its internal geometry so that we can deliver the desired properties, whether stiffness, electrical conductivity, or porosity, to the material,” explains Dr. Al-Rub.

A software too has been devised by the researchers to design the models and all they have to do is enter the desired value of the properties and the software will adjust the internal geometry of the structure so as to attain the desired values. The ability to 3D print the structures gives designers the freedom to choose even the porosity of the structures.

“We have introduced a paradigm shift in how materials are being designed. Currently, people design materials based on a material’s existing chemistry, structure and its corresponding properties. Our vision for material design instead looks first at the desired properties you are targeting in a material for a product application and then applies our proprietary design methods to optimize the structure and its’ internal geometry so that it will give you those desired properties,” claims Dr. Al-Rub.

Author

Nimish Sany: I bleed my thoughts on paper. And if I cant find a paper, blogs serve the purpose just fine.

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