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Fea and 3D Printing, the Perfect Match?

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and 3D printing have developed in parallel over the last three decades, much thanks to improved Computer Aided Design Systems (CAD). This article draws on two case studies to discuss challenges and opportunities when combining these two technologies. Some of the major challenges with 3D printing are anisotropy and lack of trustworthy mechanical values. However, when utilizing the strength of freeform fabrication, novel and complex topologies emerge. FEA has tremendous strength to evaluate and to give dimension to complex structures. Our first case, the open mesh tower, discusses some of the challenges and possibilities when using FEA to construct unique, complex constructions with 3D printing. A full merger of the two technologies is presented. Mapping the analysis results directly on the model itself, in full color, has proven to be an excellent tool, in education and in research. The second case study discusses the possibilities to enhance the understanding of old, but highly sophisticated, buildings and constructions through the merger of these two technologies. New technical terms are needed in emerging fields and in the intersection with others. Consequently, the paper closes with the presentation of a conceptual naming of the merger of FEA and 3D printing, namely 3D hydrogen.

Killi, S.Morrison, A. 2016. 'Fea and 3D Printing, the Perfect Match?'. International Journal of Mechanical Systems Engineering. Volume 2. 2016. 111. 7 Available: http://www.graphyonline.com/archives/archivedownload.php?pid=IJMSE-111