Investigation of 3D Printing Technologies and Their Potential Application in Space Exploration
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This paper aims to investigate and analyse 3D printing technologies currently available and to evaluate their potential use in the Space Exploration Industry. This area of research is also important in many aspects of everyday life and is not just limited to this sector; being able to focus their application into this area will result in inadvertent technological advances that will be of use on a global scale, having a significant beneficial effect on the economy and the worldwide environment. The main research focuses on 3D printing techniques and their possible applications based on specifications and available materials in order to identify future use in the Space Exploration sector. Establishing the potential usage of each form of printing allows for future technologies to be developed and manufactured using these advanced techniques. The technologies identified in this paper cover a range of applications including rapid prototyping, construction of mechanical and engineering quality components and structural parts, development and manufacture of rockets themselves from engines, fuselage, fairing and critical systems; their use in micro gravity environments and the importance of additive manufacture for the colonisation of other worlds.
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