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Building tomorrow: 3 things to know about 3-D printing

When it comes to additive manufacturing, aka 3-D printing, customization is king
October 10, 2017

Additive manufacturing a hot job market, and ASU courses are answering the call

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2017, click here.

Ski boots made expressly for you. White-water oars that cannot break. Featherweight motorcycle helmets inspired by nature. Hot new jobs.

These are a few of the things additive manufacturing — usually called 3-D printing — are going to bring. Introduced about 10 years ago, it’s a process changing materials science, manufacturing and engineering.

Building a robot? Ten years ago, you needed custom-machined parts that were extremely expensive and took a long time to fabricate. Now, the part you need can be created in a day or two, at a fraction of the original cost. Formula One is using additive manufacturing. McLaren is partnering with 3-D company Stratasys Ltd. (two of its machines are in the Polytechnic lab) to print test parts, saving time, cost and, in some cases, performance.

Additive manufacturing is opening up new worlds in engineering. It pulls in biology, chemistry, math and engineering.

“It’s a way of making things that penetrates many disciplines,” said Dhruv Bhate, an associate professor at the Arizona State University’s Polytechnic School, where he conducts research in the design and mechanics of 3-D-printed structures and materials.

“We are at the start of something exciting,” he said. “We are going to see a lot of growth.”

ASU Associate Professor Dhruv Bhate, standing with fused deposition modeling polymer printers, is teaching three additive manufacturing courses on the Polytechnic campus, preparing engineering students for careers that involve industrial or aerospace-grade 3-D printing. The students will be working with both polymer and metal printers. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Bhate is one of three faculty recently hired to capitalize on the equipment in the Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub. The lab is the largest in the Southwest, with more than $2 million worth of cutting-edge plastic, polymer and metal 3-D printing equipment.

“And we’re growing,” Bhate said. “We are in a growth mode to catch up with all the equipment we’ve invested in.”

Four of the five technologiesThe technologies are Fused Deposition Modeling (Stratasys), PolyJet (Stratasys), Laser Powder Bed Fusion (Concept Laser), Selective Laser Sintering (EOS) and Composite 3D Printing (MarkForged). — including the newest arrival, a printer that can use two different materials that just arrived Friday — can be used for functional parts. The fifth technology is PolyJet, which can be used for limited-run tooling.

Bhate teaches three courses in the technology: Additive Manufacturing Processes, Design for Additive Manufacturing and Additive Manufacturing Materials & Structures. Industry is literally screaming for these skills. Orbital ATK and Honeywell requested a class in design for additive manufacturing.

“It is one of the hottest courses in demand right now,” Bhate said.

Honeywell trains 10 engineers every two months in designing with additive manufacturing. The company hired three ASU grads last year and is looking for more, Bhate said.

Aerospace and defense are the top users of the tech, followed by biomedical, according to Bhate. Military body armor is beginning to be 3-D-printed. Airbus has 10,000 3-D-printed parts on every plane it makes.

Here are three things to know about additive manufacturing:

1. It’s all about you

Customization is king. Medical exoskeletons are being 3-D-printed, and the majority of hearing aids are now manufactured the same way. You want Kevlar in this color but not that color? You can do that.

“Somebody did a titanium rib cage recently,” Bhate said. “If you need customization, this technology is giving it to you at a much-reduced cost. ... Customization is such a huge value to 3-D printing.”

2. Nature paves the path

What conditions are right for a 3-D-printed part? Nature dictates a lot of designs. For example, honeycomb structures, which can absorb energy. Traditionally they are hard to manufacture.

“We can truly replicate nature’s designs,” Bhate said. “In 3-D printing we are limited only by how small we can print.”

3. New materials

Before additive manufacturing, people were able to design materials, but not make them.

“You can put any material anywhere,” Bhate said. Kevlar and nylon can be combined, for instance.

“We have been so conditioned to talk about solid materials,” he said. “The boundaries between materials and design is going away.”

Printing layer by layer also produces unique properties that are being studied for the first time.

“We can create structures we couldn’t before and study their properties,” Bhate said. “The big revolution in the last five years is we now make things that can fly.”

Top photo: Examples of 3-D polymer printing, with the honeycomb composed of nylon and carbon fiber and the fan made of ABS plastic. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU News


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ASU professor's bereavement program to roll out nationwide

10-20% of people experience prolonged grief after the death of a loved one.
October 10, 2017

12-session program, backed by decades of research, promotes effective parenting and teaches coping skills after death of caregiver

Death is a part of life.

For some people — 10-20 percent, according to the American Psychiatric Association — it’s much too big a part of life.

For those people experiencing what the APA calls prolonged grief disorder, bereavement difficulties persist or grow instead of diminishing over time after a loved one’s death, preventing them from continuing on with their own lives.

ASU Regents’ Professor of psychology Irwin Sandler has been researching the subject for more than 30 years through the Family Bereavement Program, a 12-session program designed to promote effective parenting and teach useful coping skills following the death of a parent or caregiver.

Sandler and colleagues have just completed a 15-year follow-up with program participants that found a number of positive outcomes, including strengthening of resilient parenting“Resilient parenting” is a phrase Sandler and colleagues have coined to refer to a style of parenting that can be taught and which utilizes a set of skills known to promote emotional resilience in both parents and children., as well as reductions in distress, grief, depression, alcohol use, suicidal ideation and the use of mental-health services.

The researchers had previously conducted a six-year follow-up in which they found similar outcomes, but this most recent assessment is important because it shows that the positive effects of the Family Bereavement Program are lasting.

“What was most surprising, and most heartening,” Sandler said, “is that the change was not temporary. It lasted throughout childhood. … The fact that you can help people now with a relatively simple, short program, and the effects last six and 15 years later … and the fact that the effects are both for the parents’ mental health and the children’s mental health, that’s also very heartening.”

The strength of their earlier findings attracted initial interest from New York Life Insurance Company, which has invested more than $35 million in bereavement support of grieving children and their families since 2008. The company’s vice president, Maria Collins, heard about Sandler’s work at a conference and wanted to be a part of it.

“As a life insurance company, we’re in the business of being there for people when the unexpected strikes,” Collins said. “Being a champion for this issue perfectly aligns with and complements our core business – we invest in the emotional support and resources needed for bereaved families.”

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(From left) Ferran Garcia-Pichel, dean of natural sciences at ASU; Maria Collins, New York Life Foundation vice president and corporate vice president; Marc Braden, managing partner of the New York Life Arizona office; New York Life agent Bruce Frank; and ASU Regents' Professor Irwin Sandler gather at ASU's Tempe campus in late September. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

During a September visit to the ASU campus, Collins, Sandler and others celebrated New York Life’s most recent commitment of $925,000 to help take the Family Bereavement Program from a university experiment to a service that can be offered to families nationwide.

“It’s the most successful program for bereaved children in the literature anywhere in the world, particularly in terms of long-term effects,” Sandler said. “But it’s an experimental program; it was done in a research center. How is that going to help people in the real world? The answer is it’s not going to help them unless we get it out there.”

Work is already underway to do that. Plans are in place for the Family Bereavement Program model to be provided at four child bereavement agencies across the country, one in the Phoenix area (New Song Center), one in Philadelphia, one in New Jersey and one in Oakland, California.

Volunteers at the center will use the methods developed by Sandler and his team to teach coping skills to parents and children over the course of 12 weeks. They will also have the assistance of a web-based component, so families can access program material whenever they need it.

The initial rollout will be monitored over three years, with researchers checking in with the centers to get feedback and assess the program’s effectiveness.

Sandler feels the results of the follow-up assessments and the momentum of the program’s dissemination reaffirm its potential to truly help people help themselves.

“What we’re trying to do is provide tools that really work — particularly with our focus on resilient parenting — for bereaved families,” Sandler said. “And we hope that the evidence that these skills can be learned and can really make a difference will encourage more people to try it out.”

Top photo: ASU ASU Regents’ Professor of psychology Irwin Sandler speaks to representatives of New York Life in late September in Tempe. New York Life has made a recent commitment of $900,000 to help take the Sandler's Family Bereavement Program from a university experiment to a service that can be offered to families nationwide.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASUNow