| Manufacturing & Prototyping

Printing a Better Actuator

Examples of twinning (colorful bands) in magnetic shape-memory alloy single crystals. During actuation, some twins will grow and some will shrink, depending on the direction of the applied magnetic field. This will result in an overall shape change and stroke useful in actuators. (Swanson School of Engineering/Markus Chmielus)

One technology uses magnetic fields to generate mechanical work. The other enhances the magnetic properties of 3D-printed materials. Combined, they could lead to efficient, economical production of magnetic actuators.

Magnetic-field-enhanced binder jet printing is a type of additive manufacturing that uses a magnetic field to align powder particles during printing. By layering powder and a binding liquid, binder jet printing could lower the price of magnetic shape-memory alloys, and open up new possibilities for magnetic actuators in manufacturing, robotics, medical devices engineering, and a variety of other industries.