Embedded Sensors via Laser Engineered Net Shaping
Small Business Information
OPTOMEC DESIGN CO.
13170b Central Avenue, S.e.,, Suite 310, Albuquerque, NM, 87123
David M. Keicher
AbstractOptomec Design Company proposes to use Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENSTM), a Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (RP&M) technology currently under development at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), as a new method for integrating instrumentation (e.g., embedded sensors) into metal structural components. SNL has demonstrated the ability of the LENSTM technology to produce near net shape stainless steel components, with excellent material properties, directly from computer-aided design files. This technology, which uses a high power laser to fuse metallic powder injected through a nozzle into the laser beams focus, seems uniquely appropriate for the challenge of integrating sensors into metal structures. Optomec proposes during Phase I, through its unique relationship with SNL and the commercial RP&M industry, to use LENSTM technology to conduct simple experiments on selected sensor elements to determine the feasibility of using the LENSTM technology to embed sensors into otherwise homogeneous metal structural elements. These simple experiments must necessarily precede Phase II fabrication and evaluation of actual functioning embedded sensors. The potential for this technology lies in its ability to integrate sensors into otherwise homogeneous metal structures thereby producing cost savings over external attachment and protection of sensor elements. Commercial industries which could benefit from this technology include the commercial aircraft, automotive, and construction industries.
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