Thank you for this informative article on a topic I didn't know much about, Thomas. As someone who did not do so well in chemistry and physics at school, it's fascinating to ponder materials science and learn about all the forms a different metal can take and those various uses.
Thomas, you mention that porous metals can be made with a wide variety of metalurgical properties. How strong can they be made, in terms of flexure and elastic properties? Are there some high-strength applications?
Can these materials be used for implants and/or replacements? I was not aware of the dangers of infection in joint replacements until my brother had to have both knees redone due to infection. Could porous metals allow for blood flow thereby allowing your own bodies defense mechanisms help ward off infection. Also will the surrounding tissues be able to adhere.
I wonder if instead of using porous metals that something such as cement or ceramics could be substituted on a much larger scale using 3D printing. This would not only make it cost effective for medical professionals but also help reduce the over mining of rare-earth metals.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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