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Army Research Lab Explores 3-D Printing to Fix Deployed Equipment, Cut Costs

the Army News Service

August 14, 2013

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New technology being developed by research engineers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and Purdue University will soon help just about any Soldier deployed in far-off locations to immediately spot and fix damaged aircraft and ground vehicle parts.

Researchers found that combining the general purpose, finite-element analysis software ABAQUS with Python, an open-source code used to optimize logical structures such as topologically interlocked structures, improves energy absorption and dissipation, productivity and lower maintenance costs.

The combination of ABAQUS and Python provides an automated process for auto-generation of the geometries, models, materials assignments and code execution, said Ed Habtour, a research engineer with U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s, or ARL’s, Vehicle Technology Directorate at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

He said the code is developed to assist designers with tools to model the new generation of 3-D additive manufactured and TISs structures.

“The benefit for the Soldier is an after-effect,” Habtour said. “The TIS would provide an excellent energy absorption and dissipation mechanism for future vehicles using additive manufacturing. Subsequently, the Soldier can print these structures in the field using additive manufacturing by simply downloading the model generated by the designer/vendor.” Read more →


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