China successfully completed the first space 3D printing. What did it print on the spacecraft?

Long March 5B, equipped with new-generation spaceship test ships and a cargo return cabin for flexible cargoes on May 5, 2020 at 18:00
The new-generation spacecraft test ship for manned missions was equipped with a 3D printer. China's space 3D printing experiment is also the first to use continuous fiber reinforced composite materials. It printed what on the spaceship.

A "composite-space 3D printing device" was developed in China and carried aboard the test vessel. In the cabin on the return of the test vessel, the researchers set up a "3D printing machine". During flight, continuous fiber-Enhanced sampling of composite materials was completed by the system, and the scientists were able to verify the scientific experiment goals for 3D printing in microgravity.

It's well-known that composite materials made of continuous fiber reinforced are used in spacecraft constructions both at home and overseas. These materials have high strength and low density. It is currently being researched on the 3D printing of composite materials in space. Space super-large space structure manufacturing on orbit is vital for long-term operations of the space station.

Current spacecraft structures are made up of primarily continuous fiber-reinforced, composite materials. These materials have high strength and low density. For the long-term operations of the space station, as well as the development of on-orbit production of extremely large space structures, it is important to conduct research into composite material 3D printing technology. .

Stereolithography 3D Printing Technology of The Space Application Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences for Metal / Ceramic Composite Materials with Micron Precision is performed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences research team

Space 3D Printing Research of the Space Application Center of China Academy of Sciences. China's latest-generation manned spacecraft test vessel was successfully launched by the Long March 5B rocket into orbit. The launch provided a unique opportunity to study China's future space 3D printers. Space Application Center of China will develop an "On orbit Fine Forming Experimental Device", which is a device that allows for the creation of micron levels of metal and ceramic composite materials. This was done by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' research team. One of the major challenges facing stereolithography technology is space weightlessness. Standard printing paste can't maintain a consistent shape in weightless conditions. Wall climbing could cause fluid level fluctuations which will affect printing. A series of 100 experiments were performed under microgravity, both at home as well as abroad. Rheological behavior, internal mechanism, and internal mechanisms of the Slurry under weightlessness were studied. Its yield stress can resist deformation under weightless conditions and inhibits wall climbing. Additionally, the slurry is able to restore fluidity under higher shear forces, which allows for smooth 3D printing.

2018 was the year that 3D printing in microgravity was tested by the Key Laboratory of Space Manufacturing Technology of Chinese Academy of Sciences. At the end of 2017, the CAS Key Laboratory of Space Manufacturing Technology was created. It is an independent scientific research organization that studies "space manufacturing technology". The first international stereolithography of ceramic material in microgravity was completed by researchers at China's Key Laboratory of Space Manufacturing Technology (relying upon the space application centre) in Dubendorf.

Under microgravity, light-cured 3D printed ceramics

Space 3D Printing: What it does and how to benefit? Generally, when an instrument or component is missing from the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts must wait for the supplies to arrive on the ground. This can lead to long waiting times. Space 3D printers allow technicians to create manufacturing procedures on Earth and email them to International Space Station. This entire process is completed in less than one week. Actual printing takes approximately four hours. The cost savings of space 3D printing in addition to time are significant. A complex system, such as a station or base in space, is made up of several parts. While it endeavors to ensure reliability throughout construction, there are still problems such as part damage and system upgrade. The launch cost will rise if there are many prefabricated pieces. Only raw materials and lightweight printers are required to bring into space 3D printing technology. It will reduce the launch weight of spacecraft, improve efficiency, and make the parts as quickly and efficiently as possible. Future humans will have the ability to extract raw materials from other planets. They can then establish "parts factories," which can further reduce the spacecraft's launch weight, and save space.

FDM melt extrusion was used by the NASA International Space Station's space printer. After melting the polymer wire, heat the nozzle to make it liquid. Then the material is extruded by using mechanical force. Layer by layer. NASA image source NASA The International Space Station received the first ever space 3D printer from NASA in 2014 and it opened the door to "space manufacturing". 3D printing technology for space has a different operating environment than that on Earth. The technical difficulties are also very different. Relying only on gravity, 3D printing technology in space can extrude heated plastics, metals, or other materials, and then deposit them layer by layer. It is important to have a centrifuge rotate at a set speed to ensure that material is placed in the right place. This can also be used to alter the 3D printing process in order to keep it running smoothly under zero gravity. The original 3D printer technology, which was based on earth, is simpler to adapt for Mars and moon with microgravity.

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