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'Smart' Machine Components Alert ­sers to Damage and Wear

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The novel wear sensors can be embedded into machine components.

Researchers at the United Technologies Research Center and the University of Connecticut are using advanced additive manufacturing technology to create smart machine components that can alert users to damage or wear.

Credit: Peter Morenus/UConn

University of Connecticut and United Technologies Research Center scientists are using three-dimensionally-printed technology to create "smart" machine parts that alert users of damage or wear.

By employing direct write technology, which uses lasers to fuse layers of metal powder into a solid object with semisolid metal "ink," the collaborators produced fine threads of conductive silver filament paired with a three-dimensional (3D( resistor. These threads can be incorporated into 3D-printed machine components during assembly, functioning as sensors that can detect damage to the component.

The team successfully embedded sensor lines only 15 microns wide and 50 microns apart. They also have generated novel polymer-bonded magnets that can conform to any kind of shape, making separate housings in machines that need magnetic components redundant.

From UConn Today
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