Home Applications & Case Studies Boeing Files Patent for Artificial 3D Printed Ice Blocks Used for Next-Gen...

Boeing Files Patent for Artificial 3D Printed Ice Blocks Used for Next-Gen Flight Testing

Boeing is no stranger to 3D printing as the company has already filed a few patents for 3D printing. Now they have just filed a new one: The company wants to create ice blocks for testing airplanes and simulate ice problems better than it was possible until now.

Each airplane has to get a certification and has to make it through different tests. One of these tests is about ice on the outside of the plane – for example on the wings or control surfaces. Until now they created the ice block needed with conventional technologies and mounted them onto the plane. After mounting the parts, the airplanes took off for a test flight and the impacts of the ice parts where measured.

The production of these ice blocks was very complex because they should have a similar surface as real ice on the airplane and the selection of parts was also very limited. Now Boeing wants to create these parts with 3D printing technologies and hopes to reduce costs and have more flexibility in choosing ice blocks for tests flights. The parts will use the same material as current parts: plastic, composite materials or metal.

Boeing already uses 3d printing for production of some parts of their engines. With the application of the new technology the safety for all flying planes should be improved and advantages of 3D printing could be perfectly used for this purpose.

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