JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
DMLS sintering machine being supervised by an engineer. DMLS (direct metal laser sintering) is a type of sintering that involves the addition of a metal component (here aluminium) to the usual process. Sintering involves heating a powder at a temperature below its melting point until the particles of the powder adhere to each other to form a solid object. In this case, a nylon polyamide powder was used, and the heat was applied with a laser beam, producing the sparks seen here. The use of a laser beam, and a computer to guide the sintering process, allows complex 3D structures to be produced. Photographed in the UK.
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