Yet another month has come and gone, and we are also at the tail end of another eventful year. Because it is also the beginning of a new month, it is time for another edition of our monthly news round-up of various stories we thought would be of interest to you. News items we looked at for this month’s Coffee Break News include: how the country of Rwanda is looking to the future and being rebuilt through contemporary methods of architecture and design; the introduction of holographic techniques in additive manufacturing and how this is improving the overall process; and how Eviation Aircraft used Dassault Systemes‘ 3DEXPERIENCE platform to complete its prototype of a zero-emission electric commuter aircraft.
Other stories we looked at this month include a focus on how quickly multi-material 3D printing is able to manufacture complex objects; the use of defect-detecting drones at Wembley Park to see structural issues; and how the Thanksgiving holiday in the US has become a high-tech event.
These stories are definitely worth checking out, so let’s get right to them!
Rwanda’s progressive architecture for the future
Transformation has become evident throughout the country of Rwanda, a country that is rebuilding after more than two decades of civil war and other tragedies. Contemporary architecture has become a symbol of the ongoing economic and societal reforms throughout the country.
Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in the continent of Africa, yet it has one of the fastest-growing economies globally. With a predominantly rural population, Rwanda’s cities are undergoing transformation through an organized series of initiatives and beautification campaigns started by the government.
The shift in architecture started when people began to reside in the cities of Rwanda during the 1980s. Development was adjusted to the country’s geography and varied landscapes. For instance, the Bisate Lodge by Nicholas Plewman Architects reflects Rwanda’s organic culture and rolling hills, with its spherical rooms and lush foliage.
Another structure, the Rwanda Cricket Stadium, was a project of Light Earth Designs and was built using local construction techniques, thus avoiding having to import materials, while also lowering carbon emissions and supporting the local economy. The cricket stadium’s main enclosure was inspired by Mediterranean tile-vaulting, with geogrid reinforcing. The vaults of the cricket stadium follow the natural resolution of forces, thus looking like the hillside views of Rwanda.
Holographic beam shaping is enhancing additive manufacturing
A team from Cambridge University’s engineering department, with funding from EPSRC, is launching a three-year research program that will utilize computer-generated holography to control the laser’s energy distribution in three dimensions.
Tim Wilkinson, professor of photonic engineering and the project leader, explained, “Rather than using a single beam with a scanning mirror, we can use multiple beams at the same time. We can build up our structure in a more three-dimensional way, which allows us to control things like thermal stresses.”
Currently, one of the disadvantages of the process is the difficulty of predicting or controlling the intense heat at the focus of the laser. This fuses the metallic powder in additive manufacturing and causes thermal stress or distortion in the part being manufactured. The holographic approach, however, can correct for limitations.
According to Wilkinson, the hologram can be changed hundreds or thousands of times per second for energy distribution, and there are algorithms that can be utilized to correct for material properties, optical aberrations, and other aspects.
“The holographic approach allows us to make things which were impossible before. There are certain structures you can’t make because of the thermal stresses,” Wilkinson said.
Eviation completes prototype of zero-emission electric aircraft
Electric air mobility pioneer Eviation Aircraft has completed the first prototype of a zero-emission, fully-electric regional commuter aircraft called Alice. The electric air mobility company used Dassault Systemes’ 3DEXPERIENCE cloud platform to develop the prototype.
Omer Bar-Yohay, CEO of Eviation Aircraft, said, “The electrification of aircraft isn’t a question of if, but when. As we aim to make clean regional air travel accessible for all, we needed to be able to make a product that people trust, sit in and fly, and do it quickly.”
With regard to their choice of using the 3DExperience platform, Bar-Yohay explained, “he right way to go about it was to use tools that we would want to use in the long run, and to work in the cloud to ensure fast, secure access and global collaboration. When we selected the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, we were an early stage startup with limited resources and time. We’ve developed our commercial-stage prototype faster than we imagined, and have already signed our first customer in the U.S.”
Once the Alice prototype is commercialized, it will be the first all-electric regional commuter airplane in the world, with the capability of carrying nine passengers and two crew members for 650 miles, flying at 10,000 feet and with a single charge.
Dassault Systemes’ David Ziegler, the Vice President for Aerospace and Defense Industry, commented, “Dassault Systèmes works with companies of all sizes, including new companies like Eviation Aircraft that participate in a true Aerospace Renaissance, changing the way the world travels and commutes. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform delivers solutions tailored for these innovators to implement new ways to conceptualize, design, manufacture, test, certify and operate their programs.”
More stories we followed this month:
With a new method called multimaterial multinozzle 3D that allows 3D printing with up to 8 different inks at up to 50 times per second, 3D printing becomes faster and easier.
A fleet of drones will be used by contractor John Sisk and Son to conduct quality checks on the external structure of PRP’s tower projects at Wembley Park.
Technology has now taken over Thanksgiving as well, as 3D printing and IoT devices are now being used in cooking and preparing Thanksgiving dishes in the US.