By Mark Norfolk on Friday, February 27th, 2015
Fabrisonic recently partnered with ORNL to 3D print an ‘impossible’ microchannel heat exchanger in aluminum, as posted this week on the Oak Ridge National Lab website. ORNL was performing fundamental research on how phase changes occur from liquid to gas state. In order to take measurements without affecting the phenomenon, Oak Ridge planned to use their Spallation Neutron Source to take highly accurate measurements. However, they needed to make a pressure vessel with precise internal passages on the scale of .010”. Traditional machining technologies cannot make complex internal channels in solid metal at that scale. With Fabrionic’s SonicLayer 7200, we were able to print a few layers of aerospace aluminum and then use the integrated CNC milling capability to machine the varying channel shapes at every layer.
By collaborating with Fabrisonic, ORNL was able to perform cutting edge research that is widening our understanding of the universe. Patrick Geoghegan , a ORNL senior scientist, commented “Fabrisonic’s metal 3D printing technology allowed ORNL to make an ‘impossible’ geometry in solid metal enabling our cutting edge science.”