3D printed carbon fiber parts

ElectraFly is an an aviation company that makes personal flying vehicles.
ElectraFly is an an aviation company that makes personal flying vehicles.

The Utah Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Initiative (UAMMI) and ElectraFly, an aviation company building personal flying vehicles, are reportedly teaming up to create 3D printed carbon fiber aircraft parts for the urban air mobility (UAM) market in the US.

According to 3D printing organization, America Makes, which made the contract, for the last two years UAMMI has been using a composite based additive manufacturing (CBAM) 3D printer to make aircraft parts for the Air Force. CBAM technology, which was developed by 3D printing company Impossible Objects, uses carbon fiber sheets and thermoplastic materials to produce carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) components under heat and pressure in a similar manner to compression molding. The resulting CFRP parts are half the weight of aluminum but have comparable strength to weight ratios, according to America Makes.

‘The market for urban air mobility aircraft, which is on-demand urban transportation aircraft carrying from 1 to 8 passengers, is forecasted to be 430,000 vehicles over the next twenty years,’ said Dr Tulinda Larsen, executive director for UAMMI. ‘Using lightweight 3D printed advanced materials will be essential to meet the manufacturing requirements for this emerging industry.’

This story uses material from America Makes, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.