According to foreign media reports, people are increasingly realizing that 3D printing is not only an interesting toy, it can be used in science and technology exhibitions.
Based on the principles of Industry 4.0, several start-up companies and small companies are incorporating 3D printing into their production processes to directly manufacture customized end products. In this context, the manufacturing process team of the University of Cordoba in Spain has studied how to optimize the characteristics of the surface made by 3D printing, and the goal is particularly clear, so that such surfaces can clean themselves.
The concept of self-cleaning surfaces is not new. In construction and automotive technology, such coatings have been used on glass surfaces to allow water droplets to roll off the surface easily and take away dust particles.
In some other areas, the use of self-cleaning surfaces is also very important. One of them is used for traffic lights, and 3D printing has been used to print light bulbs for traffic lights. Road safety on highways depends to a large extent on whether such signal lights are clean and can be seen clearly by drivers. Therefore, the idea of using rain or morning dew to allow them to clean themselves is very interesting.
This study analyzed the roughness characteristics of the 3D printing surface to make the surface have fewer protrusions and good finish, avoid dust embedding, and make dust particles easy to fall off. This time, the researchers also studied the hydrophobic properties of the 3D printed surface, that is, the water resistance. Therefore, it is easier for the water to roll off the surface and take away the dirt particles, making it difficult for the dirt particles to stick to the surface.
In order to implement the research in a practical way, the research team created an easy-to-manage model to predict the surface characteristics of the part even before printing the surface.
A 3D printer has several parameters that can be used to modify the surface characteristics of the printed part. In order to print such models, the researchers used data mining techniques to analyze the printing parameters that most affect the self-cleaning characteristics of the surface.
The research was carried out by the University of Cordoba in collaboration with Cordoba company Estampaciones Casado (Casado Stamping), a company that produces and maintains traffic lights and recently used 3D printing to produce signal light components with LED lights. . In addition, Smart Materials 3-D, a manufacturing company from Hahn, also participated in the study. Smart Materials 3-D mainly produces thermoplastic fibers, which are raw materials for 3D printers.
After that, the research team will work on a project that is part of the FDM-Sur international program, entitled “Development of new industrial uses of 3D printed parts with improved surface properties.” Through this project, researchers will try to optimize the characteristics of the 3D printing surface to solve the practical problems faced by enterprises in the region.
In addition to in-depth research on the self-cleaning properties of 3D printed parts, the project will also focus on improving the surface properties of 3D printed molds, which are mainly used to make polyurethane foam parts (such as car seats, cushions and pillows). In addition, researchers will work to reduce ice attached to communication antennas and other airframe components on UAVs and unmanned aerial vehicles.
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