Chemical engineer Hübner, who has more than 30 years of experience in applied research at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, especially in the field of polymeric materials, gave some insight into the work of the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Programmable Materials CPM.
"Programmable materials have the potential to initiate a paradigm shift since they can perform system functions through their internal design. Their internal structure is designed and manufactured in a such way that properties and behaviour can be controlled and reversibly changed. This allows for increased functional integration while simultaneously reducing system complexity and opens up further design spaces when compared to the current state of the art materials technology. On the other hand, challenges arise with respect to the design and manufacture of programmable materials and components made from them, as traditional paths have to be largely rethought. These are the opportunities and challenges we are focusing on," said Hübner, who coordinates the thematic area of “Manufacturing and Upscaling” in the CPM.
Jiří Hajnyš, assistant professor at the Department of Machining, Assembly and Engineering Metrology at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, raised the question of whether it is possible to print metal parts without supports. As he pointed out, support elements play a huge role in the process of metal additive technology, mainly for the reasons that they act as a support when printing an overhang or a bridge. They also help to reduce heat from the molten material and transfer it to the substrate, and provide additional rigidity to the part during the printing process.
"However, printing these support elements increases the print time and volume, and also requires a lot of effort to remove the supports once the printing is complete. The idea of supportless printing would remove these supports before the actual printing, which would make it possible to construct a part completely free-standing and ready for use, immediately after printing," explained Hajnyš, who presented the partial results achieved at VSB-TUO and the ongoing research in this area.
The next FIP Academy seminar will take place on 2nd March. The aim of the series is to bring together scientists and researchers from all the partner institutions involved in the innovation platform, to share experiences and research results and to look for opportunities to collaborate in interdisciplinary research.