C4iSR: Joint & Common Equipment

US Army Research Laboratory exploring engineering-grade plastics in 3-D-printed UAV parts

14 January 2018

The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is exploring a variety of engineering-grade plastics in its additively manufactured, or 3-D printed, parts on small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to help them compete with the strength of injection moulded components.

ARL spokesperson T’Jae Ellis told Jane's recently in an emailed response to questions that these engineering-grade plastics offer a broad range of functionality, including high stiffness, durability, electrical conductivity, vibration damping, and shock resistance. Ellis said since ARL uses 3-D printing instead of injection moulding, it is much simpler and cheaper to use multiple materials, manufacture complex geometries, and make rapid changes to the design.

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