Three Guinness World Records

Posted on 28 Oct 2019 and read 304 times
Three Guinness World RecordsEarlier this month, the University of Maine (UMaine) Advanced Structures and Composites Center received three Guinness World Records (www.composites.umaine.edu).

These were for the world’s largest prototype polymer 3-D printer (it can undertake both additive and subtractive operations), the largest solid 3-D printed object, and the largest 3-D printed boat.

The event culminated with the world’s largest (25ft 5,000lb) 3-D printed boat — named 3Dirigo — being tested in the Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory (an offshore model-testing facility equipped with a high-performance wind machine over a multi-directional wave basin).

The new 3-D printer, which is designed to print objects up to 100ft long x 22ft wide x 10ft high, can print at a rate of 500lb/hr.

Moreover, it will be used to support several ‘ambitious initiatives’, including the development of bio-based feedstocks using cellulose derived from wood resources (Maine is the most forested state in the USA), and the rapid prototyping of civilian, defence and infrastructure applications.

A $20 million research collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will support “fundamental research in key technical areas in large-scale bio-based additive manufacturing”.

Indeed, the partnership between UMaine and ORNL will “advance efforts to produce new bio-based materials conducive to the 3-D printing of large structurally demanding systems”.

The research will focus on cellulose nano-fibre (CNF) production, drying, ‘functionalisation’ and compounding with thermoplastics, building on UMaine’s leadership in CNF technology and extrusion research.

“By placing CNF from wood into thermoplastics, bio-derived recyclable material systems can be developed with properties that may rival traditional materials — possibly even metals.”

The UMaine Composites Center received $500,000 from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) to form a technology cluster to help Maine boat-builders explore how large-scale 3-D printing using economical wood-filled plastics can give the industry a competitive advantage.

The cluster brings together the expertise of UMaine researchers and marine-industry leaders to further develop and commercialise 3-D printing to benefit boat-builders in the state; and by 3-D printing plastics with 50% wood, boat moulds and parts can be produced much faster and more economically than by traditional methods.

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