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NASA 3D-Prints Rocket Engine Part Using 8,255 Layers of Copper Powder

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(3Ders.org) — NASA has revealed that it has 3D-printed a rocket engine part that can be used as part of a space program. The part is a copper combustion chamber liner, a crucial component that needs to withstand extreme temperatures and pressures. Inside such a chamber, propellants will burn at more than 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, while hydrogen at temperatures of less than 100 degrees above the absolute zero temperature will circulate through carving channels on the outside. The inner wall, meanwhile, is very very thin. It is a part that needs to be highly detailed — there are more than 200 intricate cooling channels — and needs to be capable of withstanding extreme environments.

The actual part was made using a selective laser melting 3D printer in Marshall’s Materials and Processing Laboratory. The industrial manufacturing machine fused 8,255 layers of copper powder together over 10 days and 18 hours. Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA, called the part a milestone for aerospace 3D printing. “Additive manufacturing is one of many technologies we are embracing to help us continue our journey to Mars and even sustain explorers living on the Red Planet,” he said in a statement on NASA’s website.



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