Plastic heat sinks will be getting a huge push on new Boeing aircraft, possibly starting on the Dreamliner. They offer additional opportunities to reduce weight and improve design through net shape injection molding. “This is a coming attraction,” says Dr. Alan G. Miller, director of technology integration on the Dreamliner. “This technology is already in the marketplace, but is just now moving into aircraft. Thermoplastics can become heat sinks through high loadings (30 to 40 percent) of carbon-graphite fiber or ceramics. Suppliers of thermally conductive thermoplastics include LNP Engineering Plastics (GE Plastics), RTP, Cool Plastics, and DuPont On the thermoset side, suppliers include Epoxies, Etc.
These new 3D-printing technologies and printers include some that are truly boundary-breaking: a sophisticated new sub-$10,000, 10-plus materials bioprinter, the first industrial-strength silicone 3D-printing service, and a clever twist on 3D printing and thermoforming for making high-quality realistic models.
Using simulation to guide the drafting process can speed up the design and production of 3D-printed nanostructures, reduce errors, and even make it possible to scale up the structures. Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a model that does this.
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