Mar 2, 2017 | By Tess

Researchers from Deakin University in Australia are set to unveil their innovative 3D printed Boron Nitride Nanotube-Titanium composite at the Australian International Airshow tomorrow, March 3. The Boron Nitride Nanotube (BNNT), the first of its kind in the world, was made using a breakthrough technology developed by Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), which could have applications in the aerospace and defense industries.

According to IFM researcher Professor Ian Chen, the work that led to the first 3D printed Boron Nitride Nanotube-Titanium composite marks a significant advancement in both nanotube applications and 3D printing technology. The composite nanotubes offer a number of benefits over regular composite materials.

As Chen explains, “While titanium composites have been widely used in aeroplanes, in defense and high-end equipment, a composite with nanotubes will make the material stronger, lighter, give it a longer life and high-temperature tolerance. These nanotubes have many unique properties and the new composite will bring in new possibilities and applications.”

Spurred on by BNNT’s properties (which include high strength, light weight, and high heat resistance), research labs all over the world have been working for years to find effective processes for making BNNT commercially viable. Thus far, the nanomaterials have remained limited in their scope, largely due to the fact that they are not only difficult to produce, but can also only be manufactured in small amounts.

Now, however, Deakin’s researchers, led by Professor Chen, have succeeded in developing a scalable manufacturing process for making BNNT, which could help propel the advanced nanomaterial to commercial production. The patented additive manufacturing technology, which combines ball milling and annealing processes, has the potential to be scaled up for use in the automotive, defense, and aviation industries.

To get the commercialization process going, Deakin is reportedly planning on establishing a commercial BNNT plant in Geelong, Australia, which will produce the advanced nanomaterials in kilogram quantities.

"Deakin's nanotechnology research and achievements will make a positive difference across the globe, bringing disruptive changes to a wide range of industries in the years to come," said Professor Hodgson, Deakin Deputy Vice-Chancellor. "Nanomaterials are a bright new frontier and Deakin's researchers are excellent pioneers when it comes to scientific exploration.”

The world’s first Boron Nitride Nanotube-Titanium composite will be showcased at the Australian International Airshow in Avalon starting March 3 as well as the Aerospace and Defence Exposition. According to the university, 30 of its researchers and staff will be present at the event to display and present the groundbreaking IFM research project, as well as many others.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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