New optical fibre 3D printing technique!

http://www.itproportal.com/2015/07/03/new-optical-fibre-3d-printing-technique-being-researched/

New optical fibre 3D printing technique being researched

New optical fibre 3D printing technique being researched

The researchers at the University of Southampton are currently investigating a new way of manufacturing optical fibre. And that is through 3D printing, or, in other words, additive manufacturing.

This new research could potentially pave the way for more complex structures that can be capable of unlocking a host of applications in many different industries, such as telecommunications, aerospace, biotechnology, etc.

As of now, there are a couple of ways to manufacture optical fibre. One of them is with the help of a piece of glass from which the optical fibre is drawn. This gives manufacturers a consistent length and shape of the fibre. In the case of 3D printing, it is difficult to control the shape and composition of the fibre, which results in limited flexibility in design and the capabilities that the fibre can offer.

The new additive manufacturing technique is currently being developed by Professor Jayanta Sahu, along with his colleagues from the University of Southampton’s Zepler Institute and co-investigator, Dro Shoufeng Yang from the Faculty of Engineering and Environment. We believe that the new manufacturing technique will help manufacture preforms that are far more complex and have different features along their lengths.

Professor Jayanta Sahu says that “We will design, fabricate and employ novel Multiple Materials Additive Manufacturing (MMAM) equipment to enable us to make optical fibre preforms (both in conventional and microstructured fibre geometries) in silica and other host glass materials.”

Professor Sahu further says “Our proposed process can be utilised to produce complex preforms, which are otherwise too difficult, too time consuming or currently impossible to be achieved by existing fabrication techniques.”

One of the most challenging things of 3D manufacturing optical fibre, is making the preform, especially when it has a complex internal structure. Consider the photonic bandgap fibre for instance. It is a new type of microstructed fibre that is anticipated to revolutionise the telecoms and datacoms industries in particular.

With the help of the new additive manufacturing technique, the researchers will be able to design and manufacture the complex internal structure of the optical fibre using ultra-pure glass powder. And as is the case with 3D printing, the researching will be able to manufacture a complex preform, layer by layer, gradually building up the shape of the optical fibre.

There are still numerous challenges that they will have to face, such as the high melting temperature of glass, the need for precise control of dopants, refractive index profiles, waveguide geometry, etc. any changes in those things will result in the alteration of the fibre.

itproportal.com

by Nabil Ansari | 03/07/2015

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High-Res 3D printer!

http://gizmodo.com/a-new-high-res-3d-printer-can-print-objects-smaller-tha-1713352660

A New High-Res 3D Printer Can Print Objects Smaller Than Blood Cells

A New High-Res 3D Printer Can Print Objects Smaller Than Blood Cells

Those telltale layered stripe marks all over a 3D-printed object might soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new high-res printing technique that’s actually capable of creating 3D objects smaller than a red blood cell.

A team of researchers from South Korea’s Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, led by professor Park Jang-ung, have developed a new kind of 3D printing technique that works not unlike the color printer you have at home. Except that this electrohydrodynamic inkjet uses special inks that can be layered to form microscopic 3D shapes like arched bridges, zig-zag structures, and pillars.

A New High-Res 3D Printer Can Print Objects Smaller Than Blood Cells

The new 3D printing technique can actually create patterns as small as 0.001-millimeters in size. For comparison, a red blood cell measures in at 0.006 to 0.008-millimeters, so it’s actually capable of creating shapes too small for the naked human eye to see.

An obvious application of the new technology would be to further refine the 3D printing process to the point where objects have no visible layering or textures. They’d be—at least in theory—smooth to the touch as soon as they came off the printer. But a more immediate application involves using these new techniques for 3D printing electronic components and circuit boards, making it easier and faster to create, refine, and perfect prototypes.

gizmodo.com

by Andrew Liszewski | 6/23/15 2:15pm

Extinct rhinos and 3D printing

http://ecowatch.com/2015/05/08/3d-printing-rhino-horns-stop-poaching/

rhinopopulation

Can 3D Printing Save Rhinos From Going Extinct?

With large-scale poaching causing the once-abundant rhino population to dip to extinction levels, one Seattle-based biotech startup has come up with a deceivingly simple idea to stave demand of the rhino’s coveted horns: fake it.

Pembient, founded earlier this year, is working with rhino horn powder in its labs in order to develop solid rhino horn substitutes, by “duplicating the cells, proteins and deposits in a rhino horn so the synthetic version is genetically similar to the real thing,” the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

The fascinating part? They’re doing it by using 3D printing. Making something go from this …

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To this … (the one in the middle is the fake one)

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It’s unclear how exactly Pembient’s making the products, but as TechCrunch explained, “Rhino horns are composed of a specific kind of keratin protein. Pembient figured out the genetic code and was then able to reproduce the horns using the keratin in a 3D-printing technique.”

After Pembient CEO Matthew Markus showed a TechCrunch reporter one of their horn prototypes, Markus said, “You can’t physically tell the difference. No one looking at this could tell this wasn’t from a rhino. It’s the same thing. For all intents and purposes, this is a real rhino horn.”

Rhino horns are used in traditional Chinese medicine and are considered a cure-all for many types of illnesses, driving a devastating global black market. Pembient’s goal is to replace this illegal, $20 billion wildlife trade with fabricated wildlife products, such as rhino horn and elephant ivory, at prices below the levels that induce poaching.

“We surveyed users of rhino horn and found that 45 percent of them would accept using rhino horn made from a lab,” said Pembient. “In comparison, only 15 percent said they would use water buffalo horn, the official substitute for rhino horn.”

Markus also told New Scientist that Vietnamese rhino horn users have said that Pembient’s manufactured rhino powder has a similar smell and feel to wild rhino horns. If all goes to plan, the fake horns could be on the market by next fall at a tenth of the price of illegal ones, the publication reported.

However, conservationists have pointed out that the company’s plan doesn’t placate global demand for real rhino horns, especially in countries where it’s considered a status symbol to own one.

rhino

“The synthetic horns will not have an impact on current rhino horn users that want real horns from dead rhinos,” Douglas Hendrie, technical advisor at Education for Nature–Vietnam told New Scientist.

We’ve seen 3D printers do some pretty incredible things, from “printing” sustainable food to tackling plastic waste. Can this new technology help save the rhino?

ecowatch.com

by  | May 8, 2015 9:15 am