A new technology could transform the way tanks and guns are built.
Using lasers, 3D printers and materials, the design could be made in the same time as a traditional gun or tank, allowing it to take place on the water rather than in a factory.
The technology, called “biocompatible 3D printed tanks”, could be used in an ocean environment, or even on land, to help protect people from marine hazards.
The project was launched by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Germany.
The team from the institute, which was working on 3D printing for environmental protection, said they hoped the technology would be commercially available within two to three years.
It could reduce the number of people involved in the manufacturing of a weapon by almost half, the team said.
This is a significant step forward in 3D-printed materials for environmental engineering, they said.
The idea of biocompatability is not new, but this is the first time we have seen a realistic model of a 3D tank being developed in a large scale.
The design of the tank is based on a model of the submarine hull, but the 3D model uses a variety of materials and has been designed to mimic the shape of the shell.
“The design and the construction of this tank are very simple,” said Prof Robert Mather, a materials scientist at the Maxplanck Institute.
The 3D printable tank could be installed inside an existing 3D printer.
“When you are ready to test it, you just plug in a power supply and it is ready for manufacturing,” he said.
“Once it is produced, it will have to be transported, and we are already looking into this for a future in marine environment.”‘
A big step forward’For the first prototype, the scientists tested the technology on a 10-tonne “tuna tank” of PVC pipe.
The prototype was 3D cut, with the material layer on the bottom and a layer of plastic on top.
“For a typical 3D design, we want to have a layer, a plane, and a line to go from there to the next layer,” said Mather.
“It is a very important step forward, but we still have a long way to go.”
The team also worked on 3-D printing a tank of rubber, a flexible material used to make the shell for tanks.
The rubber layer is used to hold the shell together, and it was 3-dimensional printed on a 3-axis printer.
The scientists then designed a 3.5-ton steel tank for a marine environment.
“We use this to hold up the tank to prevent water damage from the tanks hull being bent or damaged,” said Professor Hengui Huang, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at the institute.
“A big part of the strength of the steel tank is its stiffness, which allows it to flex and rotate freely.”
Our idea is that this 3D layer can also support the entire tank and not just the shell.
“It was a challenge to find a suitable material for the tank, but they chose the rubber layer, which is flexible enough to be applied with precision to the tank.”
In the end, we used a mixture of various plastics and metals to give the tank its shape,” said Huang.”
There are many different materials we have used in this research.
“Each material is able to produce a different finish, but most importantly, each material has a very good mechanical properties, which make it suitable for use in the 3-d printed tank.”
The researchers hope to have the first commercial production of a biocommatible tank by the end of 2019.
The researchers are now looking at 3D manufacturing processes for other applications, such as building housing or other structures, or packaging and packaging materials.
“This research could potentially help us solve the problems of ocean environment protection and other environmental problems,” said Sushil Kumar, a mechanical engineer from the Institute of Advanced Industrial Science.
“With 3D technology, we can now produce an environmentally friendly, lightweight and environmentally friendly design in a very short period of time.”