Chinese scientists succeed in micro-g 3D printing test

Updated: 2016-04-13 23:04


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BEIJING -- Chinese scientists have successfully tested 3D printing at microgravity, the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization (CSU) announced Wednesday.

The CSU team has conducted 93 parabolic test flights in France, and printed out the designed specimen with Chinese-developed equipment and processes.

The parabolic test flights, which created a microgravity environment that lasts about 22 seconds, were facilitated by the Space Administration of Germany.

Wang Gong, technical chief of the team, said 3D printing in an environment such as this would be advantageous to space probe technology as it would enable supplies to be printed during space missions.

At present, supplies must be sent to space stations via carrier rockets or cargo spacecraft, which is both costly and time-consuming, Wang added.

Earth-bound 3D printing technology, materials, equipment and operations need to be adapted to work in space, Wang said.

The experiment team has tested five materials, including fiber reinforced polymer, which has not been tested by NASA, Wang said.

The data obtained will be important to the future of space-bound 3D printing.