The space agency can finally ensure that additive manufacturing produces parts that withstand the incredible heat experienced by rocket engines.
The news: A newly patented method is called laser wire direct closeout (LWDC). Differing substantially from typical methods of 3-D printing with metal (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2018: 3-D Metal Printing”), it uses a laser and metal wire to create strong metal bonds and precise structures.
The upshot: This process can cut the manufacturing time of rocket nozzles from months to weeks. “Our motivation behind this technology was to develop a robust process that eliminates several steps in the traditional manufacturing process,” says Paul Gradl, a senior propulsion engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Taking out these steps allows for faster manufacturing.
Next up: The team is looking for additional ways to apply the technology across the industry.
This story first appeared in our future-of-work newsletter, Clocking In. Sign up here!
The Biggest Questions: Are we alone in the universe?
Scientists are training machine-learning models and designing instruments to hunt for life on other worlds.
Why the first-ever space junk fine is such a big deal
A fine handed to the US TV firm Dish by the FCC could help kick-start the market for solutions to space debris.
This startup wants to find out if humans can have babies in space
SpaceBorn United wants to conduct an IVF experiment in Earth’s orbit to pave the way for long-term space missions.
The Biggest Questions: Why is the universe so complex and beautiful?
For some reason the universe is full of stars, galaxies, and life. But it didn’t have to be this way.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.