A group of researchers from the University of Michigan has developed a method for making a 3D printed rocket that can travel at a blistering speed, hitting targets in a “fractal trajectory” and delivering payloads weighing between 300 and 1,000 kilograms to space.
In their new paper, published in the journal Nano Letters, the researchers say they’ve successfully demonstrated this feat with the new 3D-printed rocket they’ve dubbed the “Rocket.”
This video shows the new rocket being built and tested on a computer.
Credit: UC Berkeley The scientists behind the work are led by the U-M associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, Adam P. Chaves.
He and his team have spent the past few years developing a way to create a 3-D printed model of a rocket that is both strong enough to be used in a flight and able to withstand harsh conditions.
The team used an extremely-thin and flexible layer of polycarbonate to build a 3.5-cm-thick model of the rocket.
They then printed it using a 3d printer and built the model using a laser.
Then, they cut and assembled the model with a tool that’s used to attach a piece of paper to a machine.
They also tested the model in a vacuum chamber.
When the model was placed in a 3GPP-certified space environment, the rocket reached speeds of up to 9,000 meters per second.
The rocket flew for five minutes in a straight line, hitting three targets at different altitudes.
The flight also lasted between 20 seconds and seven minutes.
The 3D printable rocket has two stages: a solid rocket booster that can carry a payload weighing between 100 and 1.2 kilograms, and a “spool” that can deliver payloads of up and 30 kilograms.
The third stage uses an ultrasonic jet propulsion system that generates thrust using a combination of magnetic fields and ultrasonic waves.
The thrust generated by the thrust spool can be used to propel the rocket at up to 50 kilometers per hour.
Credit : Adam Chaves, UC Berkeley 3D Printing at a Glance