Skip to content
3D Printing Certification

U.S. Navy issued patent for marine-biodegradable 3D printable materials

certification

U.S. Navy scientists have been issued a 20-calendar year patent for a 3D printable content designed of a maritime-biodegradable foundation polymer which would crack down in excess of time according to TechLink, the approved intermediary for the U.S Division of Defense.

The crew of experts, centered at the Naval Surface area Warfare Centre in Panama Metropolis, Florida, consider underwater devices this sort of as unmanned or autonomous underwater vehicles (UUVs) could be built biodegradable thanks to the new 3D printed content. Inventors of the materials, Josh Kogot, Ryan Kincer, and April Hirsch of the center’s Biotechnology Analysis and Development Lab, acquired the patent on Tuesday.

“There is an unmet will need to produce marine biodegradable 3D printable structures for which the level of degradation of every structure can be chosen for a unique mission,” the patent stated. “It is, therefore, a general-function and main item of the current invention to deliver a composition and technique for the 3D printing certification of a maritime biodegradable composition for which the level of degradation can be controlled.”

The “microSwarm Family of Systems” job led by Naval Surface Warfare Middle Panama City Division. Picture through Eddie Inexperienced/U.S. Navy.

Knowing UUVs

UUVs are utilised by the U.S navy to dwelling and deploy oceanic sensors and products, employed for applications these kinds of as mapping, observation, research, and archaeological expeditions. 

Some of these UUVs are at this time crafted for single-use only or are built to operate for a set volume of time right before they quit functioning. Retrieval of these objects is often highly-priced and so numerous are left deserted on the ocean floor, which is not a significantly environmentally-friendly disposal option. 

The new 3D printable material could support resolve this situation, earning UUVs safer to dispose of underwater and counter some of the environmental impacts these cars are obtaining on our oceans.

The U.S. Navy is no stranger to investing in 3D printing certification. In 2018 by yourself, the U.S. Workplace of Naval Research (ONR) allotted $2.6 million for the introduction of metal additive manufactured parts Lockheed Martin entered a $5.8 million contract with the pressure and, by the end of the year Naval Air Methods Command (NAVAIR) approximated its fleet relied on the use of 1,000 3D printed areas.

Most just lately,  the Navy included its most recent metallic 3D printer, the AML, which is an EOS M290 Direct Steel Laser Sintering (DMLS) process that has been utilised to make merchandise like portable runway mats and hydraulic parts.

US Naval vessels at sea. Photo via the US Naval Research Laboratory on Facebook
US Naval vessels at sea. Image through the US Naval Exploration Laboratory

The content breakdown

The composition of the 3D printable content is created up of a ratio of a biodegradable foundation polymer and a gelling agent, which can be preselected to attain the wanted fee of degradation. A mix of polymers these types of as polycaprolactone (PCL), polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), or polybutylene succinate (PBS), can be altered together with an agar gelling agent to permit the material to be 3D printed into any size or shape, and have specified degradation properties.

By escalating the ratio of the agar gelling agent, the composition will supply guidance for larger sized amounts of microorganisms and enzyme materials which will speed up the degradation system of the UUV in problem.

The researchers integrated biological supplies, this sort of as artificial hagfish slime which was invented by the exact laboratory in 2018, to aid the biodegradation procedure of the carrier car or truck construction. Microorganisms and enzymes can feed on these biodegradable polymers which make up the composition to help the procedure.

In accordance to the patent, 3D printing certification of the material takes place at somewhat reduce temperatures, underneath 120 levels celsius, to keep away from damaging the microorganisms in the biological elements applied for the process.

biodegradable
Breakdown of the U.S Navy’s 3D printable maritime biodegradable content, Determine 1a. Image by using United States Patent – Maritime Biodegradable Composition for 3D Printing certification.
biodegradable
Breakdown of the U.S Navy’s 3D printable marine biodegradable substance, Determine 1b. Picture via United States Patent – Marine Biodegradable Composition for 3D Printing certification.
biodegradable
Breakdown of the U.S Navy’s 3D printable marine biodegradable content, Figure 1c. Picture by means of United States Patent – Maritime Biodegradable Composition for 3D Printing certification.

Licensing to firms

Techlink is delivering licensing companies of the 3D printable substance to companies at no value, says Brian Metzger, who operates with the Navy technologies transfer staff in Panama city to assistance non-public corporations commercialize their innovations.

“Not only can you 3D print this content into just about nearly anything, but to finely handle the price at which it degrades is truly useful,” he said. “This technological innovation has the potential to lower charges and gain the surroundings, it could have many armed forces and commercial apps for all styles of underwater devices.”

According to Metzger, the new material could be utilized for a…