My country has completed space 3D printing for the first time, and the application of composite materials has entered a period of accelerated development.The sea of stars is fascinating. Since ancient times, human beings have never stopped exploring the unknown universe.
At 18:00 on May 5, 2020, the Long March 5B, carrying a new generation of manned spacecraft test ship and flexible inflatable cargo return cabin test module, was ignited and lifted off from Wenchang Space Launch Site, and the test of my country's manned spacecraft is moving forward again. A big step forward. It is reported that the new-generation manned spacecraft test ship is equipped with a "composite material space 3D printing system" independently developed by my country. This is my country's first space 3D printing experiment, and it is also the first time in the world to carry out continuous fiber reinforcement in space. 3D printing experiments with composite materials.
During the flight, the "composite space 3D printing system" system independently completed the prototype printing of continuous fiber-reinforced composite materials, and verified the scientific experimental goal of composite 3D printing in a microgravity environment. After the news came out, it attracted the attention of scientists at home and abroad. my country's first feat of space 3D printing reflects from one aspect that my country has achieved many breakthroughs in 3D printing technology research and scientific experiments.
Everyone knows that the presentation of 3D printing products is inseparable from both 3D printing technology and systems, as well as 3D printing materials. In fact, with the continuous expansion of the application field of 3D printing technology and the increasing variety of 3D materials, the global 3D printing material industry has developed rapidly. In 2018, the market size of the global 3D printing materials industry reached US$3.227 billion, a year-on-year increase of 20%.
Generally speaking, 3D printing material types can be classified in different aspects. According to chemical properties, 3D printing materials can be divided into composite materials, metal materials, ceramic materials, and polymer materials; according to physical state, 3D printing materials can be divided into filamentous materials, liquid materials, powder materials, and sheet materials. From the perspective of the types of 3D printing materials in China, titanium alloy, PLA, and nylon have a relatively high proportion, followed by aluminum alloy, stainless steel, and resin and other materials.
Among various composite materials, the market demand for continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites is huge. It is understood that continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites are mainly made of thermoplastic resins and fiber-reinforced materials. Generally, PEEK, PP, PE, PET, PS can be selected as resin matrix, while carbon fiber, glass fiber, aramid fiber are preferred as fiber reinforcement.
Some analysts believe that during 2016-2121, the continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite material market will maintain rapid growth, with a compound growth rate of 4.38%. As a very important 3D printing material, continuous fiber reinforced composite materials have huge potential applications in the fields of 3D printing automobiles, aviation, and electronic products.
As an emerging composite material, carbon fiber is difficult to replace in the 3D printing material system. Due to its high strength, high temperature resistance and corrosion resistance, carbon fiber has gradually become a new favorite of scientific research in recent years. The introduction of carbon fiber improves the rigidity and strength of the printed parts to a certain extent, and the crystallinity is more uniform, which makes it better suited to the needs of intelligent manufacturing of 3D printed products.
At present, many researchers in the scientific community have obtained scientific research results of new 3D composite printing materials by adding carbon fibers. For example, the research team of the Space Application Engineering and Technology Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has successfully carried out systematic research on the 3D printing process of self-developed carbon fiber PEEK composite materials.
It is foreseeable that with the continuous acceleration of the commercial use of 3D printing, the market demand for 3D printing materials and equipment will grow rapidly. Based on the significant advantages and huge application potential of 3D printing technology, the upstream and downstream industries of 3D printing will enter a period of accelerated development, and the emergence of new materials, new technologies, and new application formats will also reshape the entire 3D printing market pattern.
Just like mountaineering, only with firm will and non-stop walking can overcome all difficulties and obstacles, climb to the top and enjoy the beautiful and magnificent scenery. On the way to the scientific peak of 3D printing, scientists from all over the world need to maintain endurance and determination. After arduous exploration and attempts, I believe that more breakthrough and typical 3D printing results will be shown to the world.