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CERN to develop 3D printing of cooling parts

CERN, operators of the Large Hadron Collider, are behind a new project to use 3D printing technologies to produce cooling system components

SWITZERLAND: A project to develop 3D-printing technologies to manufacture cooling system components is to receive funding under the EU’s ATTRACT research and innovation scheme.

In the latest phase of funding, ATTRACT will commit €28m to finance 36 projects from more than 20 countries. The R&D&I project is funded by the EU and backed by a consortium of nine partners, including CERN, the European nuclear research organisation and operator of the Large Hadron Collider.

It is CERN, along with five other partners, which is behind AHEAD, a project to develop a new way to manufacture components for the next generation of cooling systems.

While not much information is available on the project, it is said that AHEAD aims to combine 3D-printing technologies to produce cooling systems with a reduced number of components that are lighter, smaller and therefore able to be placed closer to areas that need to be cooled. 

Better performance for the complex cooling systems at CERN is seen as a potential benefit. In addition, it is said that such technologies could also reduce fuel consumption in the aerospace industry. CERN will also study the extension of the potential application of the product to the market of “natural” refrigeration systems.

In addition to CERN, the five other partners are Swiss research and development company CSEM SA, Thales Alenia Space France, LISI Aerospace, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and InanoEnergy, a Portuguese company providing IoT enabled energy harvesting solutions.

Not that CERN is a stranger to 3D printing, the organisation has been using a 3D printing techniques to produce geometrically complex parts in both metals and plastics since 2017.

Earlier this year a collaboration with Nikhef, the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics, and 3D Systems Customer Innovation Center, produced 3D printed titanium cool-bars to cool photon-detectors to -40ºC on the Large Hadron Collider.

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