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Expanse Microtechnologies joins Canada Makes

Canada Makes is pleased to welcome Expanse Microtechnologies Inc. as its newest member. Expanse Microtechnologies’ analysis capabilities using X-ray computed tomography (CT) brings highly specialized experience to Canada’s additive manufacturing (AM) supply chain. They focus on helping clients overcome challenges in the development of advanced materials and additive manufacturing processes.

“Helping to bring the type of expertise offered by Expanse Microtechnologies to Canada’s supply chain is exactly what the Canada Makes network is about,” said Frank Defalco, Manager Canada Makes. “I look forward to seeing their presentation ‘Pushing Limits in Design for AM through Smart use of uCT’ at our upcoming workshop at McGill.”

“We’re thrilled to join the Canada Makes network. It’s a great fit as we share a common goal to be an enabler and accelerator of additive technology in Canada” says Craig Metcalfe, Vice President of Expanse Microtechnologies.

About Expanse Microtechnologies Inc.
Expanse Microtechnologies Inc. provides unparalleled analyses of X-ray CT data focused on improving the understanding of additive manufacturing processes and advanced materials. Expanse is headquartered in Toronto, ON, with a presence in Waterloo, ON and Victoria, BC. Their staff have more than 40 years experience in the acquisition and analysis of X-ray CT data and development of advanced materials & their processing methods. Their research and industry expertise is devoted to providing customers with the critical insight needed to guide their product, materials, and process developments.


Tekna joins Canada Makes

Mississauga September 2017 – Canada Makes is pleased to announce Sherbrooke, Quebec based Tekna as its newest Leadership level partner. With more than 200 equipment installed worldwide and a large portfolio of Fortune 500 customers, mainly in the medical and aerospace industries, Tekna is a world-leader supplying equipment and materials for additive manufacturing (AM) applications.

“Tekna is proud to join Canada Makes network. Manufacturing high quality spherical powders for AM is one of Tekna’s main activity and our growth in this sector is quite phenomenal. We use our patented core technologies to manufacture industrial powders for the largest organizations producing parts by metal-AM. Thus, being actively involved in the Canada Makes network is important for our organization”, said Luc Dionne, CEO of Tekna.

Jean-Francois (Jeff) Carrier of Tekna and Frank Defalco Canada Makes at CMTS in Mississauga Ontario.

“I cannot understate how important the addition of Tekna is to the Canada Makes network,” said Frank Defalco Manager Canada Makes. “We can now call upon their experience and leading expertise in advanced additive manufacturing powders like titanium to help develop Canada’s AM supply chain.”

For over 25 years, Tekna’s been innovating and evolving their automated industrial processes with the goal of offering the perfect powder. Their process combines the power of their patented technologies and repeatability for 24/7 production of advanced high-quality powders. Their plasma process used is electrodeless and yields ultra-high-purity powders. Their two product lines, plasma systems and advanced materials, will help support Canadian companies in reaching current and future technical goals.

About TEKNA Plasma Systems
TEKNA, a subsidiary of Arendal Fossekompani ASA (AFK: NO), has been conducting manufacturing of industrial plasma systems and metal powders for more than 25 years, based on their strong R&D leadership. Today, TEKNA (headquartered in Canada) is a world-renowned actor for the quality of its products and its ability to respond quickly to the growing demands of its customers.

About Canada Makes
Canada Makes, a Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) initiative. CME is Canada’s largest trade and industry association, and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada. Canada Makes is a network of private, public, academic, and non-profit entities dedicated to promoting the adoption and development of advanced and additive manufacturing in Canada. It is an enabler and accelerator of AM-adoption in Canada.

3D printing world’s lightest material gives rise to three-dimensional graphene

Aerogels are some of the lightest solid materials on Earth, containing up to 99.98-percent of air. As part of a research last year, a team of ETH Zurich scientists developed a new type of porous gold foam that is as light as air and, even floats on cappuccino. The world’s lightest material, however, is graphene aerogel, weighing only 160 gm per cubic meter. What is more, researchers have recently found a way to produce the substance easily, via 3D printing.

3D Printing World's Lightest Material Gives Rise To 3D Graphene-3

Aerogels, also known as “frozen smoke”, are synthetic substances that actually look like gas, and have nearly the same weight and density as gas. Formed by replacing the liquid constituent of a gel with gas, the resultant material is a translucent solid, with very low density and thermal conductivity. First created back in 1931, aerogels boast a number of impressive properties, including flexibility, compressibility and also the ability to absorb liquids like oil.

Thanks to its unique features, aerogel is currently being researchers for a number of potential uses, including invisibility cloaks and environmental cleanup. One gram of the substance, for instance, is capable of soaking up around 900 times its weight, in terms of materials like oil. Although silica aerogel is the most commonly used type of aerogel, graphene aerogel is regarded as the lightest substance on Earth. It is nearly 7.5 times lighter than air, and more than 12-percent lighter than aerographite, which is currently the second lightest material in the whole world.

Furthermore, it is 1,000 times less than water. Indeed, it is so incredibly light that a cubic inch of graphene aerogel can be safely balanced on a dandelion seed head, a flower’s stamen or even a blade of grass. A one-atom-thick allotrope of carbon, graphene contains carbon atoms that arranged uniformly in hexagonal honeycomb lattice. Its aerogol, however, is made up of multiple, freeze-dry layers of graphene, placed one on top of the other to form a tightly-packed three-dimensional structure.

3D Printing World's Lightest Material Gives Rise To 3D Graphene-2

Recently, scientists from Kansas State University, State University of New York and China’s Harbin Institute of Technology devised a new and innovative 3D printing technique that could be used to mass produce the world’s lightest substance. To achieve such a feat, however, the team had to overcome several challenges. According to the researchers, the aerogel’s unique molecular structure, which lends it all its remarkable properties, is also what makes its printing incredibly difficult. Speaking about the research, published in the Small journal, Chi Zhou of SUNY’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences said:

Graphene is notoriously difficult to manipulate, but the structures we built show that it’s possible to control its shape in three-dimensional forms.

3D printing aerogol usually involves the addition of a special polymer to the core material so that it can be produced by means of an inkjet printer. Once the procedure is over, the polymer is removed from the original structure via a chemical process. This technique, however, cannot be used in case of graphene aerogel, as addition of foreign substance tends to destroy its delicate structure.

To 3D print graphene aerogel, the scientists therefore turned to graphene oxide, which was then mixed with water. The resultant mixture was laid out over a flat surface and cooled to around -25 degree Celsius. This in turn allowed the researchers to freeze the constituent graphene layers, thereby creating a three-dimensional aerogel structure held together by means of ice scaffolds. After the completion of the process, the water in the scaffolds was removed by freeze-drying with liquid nitrogen.

To remove the remaining oxygen atoms, the material was heated, leaving behind pure graphene aerogel. As the scientists point out, the aerogel produced via this technique had densities varying from 0.5 kg to 10 kg per cubic meter. Interestingly, the lightest aerogel created so far boasts a density of around 0.16 kg per cubic meter. Dong Lin, a professor at Kansas State University and the study’s co-author, said:

By keeping the graphene in a cold environment, we were able to ensure that it retained the shape we designed. This is an important step toward making graphene a commercially viable material.

Source: State University of New York