Nitinol Devices and Components recently had an idea for changing the design of stents used to open blocked blood vessels: Make them out of a shape-memory alloy rather than stainless steel. Question: Would the alloy stand up to the rigors of the human body, including the average 40 million beats the human heart has per year?
Prototype testing to see if it would work would have been tough. So Nitinol used Abaqus software to simulate the behavior of the material within a blood vessel. Result: the material acted as expected. The stents are available now and, says Nitinol, working well.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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