3D Systems & Alpine F1 Team develop SLA 3D printing material for wind tunnel testing applications

3D Systems has announced the launch of its Accura Composite PIV 3D printing material, developed in collaboration with Alpine F1 Team to produce parts for wind tunnel testing.

Formerly named Renault F1 Team, Alpine F1 is a long-time user of 3D printing technology and long-time partner of 3D Systems. Together, they have worked to develop the Accura Composite PIV stereolithography (SLA) material which is said to be capable of producing rigid parts in high-contrast colour optimised for particle image velocimetry (PIV) testing.

Harnessing the Accura Composite PIV with 3D Systems’ SLA technology, software and advanced application services, Alpine F1 has ‘maximised its wind tunnel investment’ and improved its understanding of the airflow over the car. Among the Accura Composite PIV’s characteristics are a high tensile and flex modulus, and a heat deflection temperature of 100°C, allowing it to withstand the rigours of wind tunnel testing, which is an almost 24/7 operation at Alpine F1.

In PIV testing, taking reliable measurements is a challenge because of the reflections of laser light from background surfaces other than the airborne particles, which reduces the image quality resulting in a loss of useful information. The Accura Composite PIV, however, has been effective in reducing the laser reflection effect, helping aerodynamicists gain greater insights into the aerodynamic characteristics of the wind tunnel model.

“We’ve proudly collaborated with 3D Systems for many years. The deep expertise of their application engineers and their industry-leading solutions have been an invaluable part of our innovation team,” commented Pat Warner, Advanced Digital Manufacturing Manager at Alpine F1 Team. “It’s been exciting to co-develop Accura Composite PIV and see the benefits it’s bringing to our process. We produce nearly 500 parts per week for wind tunnel testing. Due to the material’s unique optical characteristics, we are now collecting more reliable data from our PIV system in the wind tunnel.”

“Customer-centric innovation is a guiding force within 3D Systems,” added Kevin Baughey, Segment Leader, Transportation & Motorsports at 3D Systems. “Working with Alpine F1 Team to develop our newest material is another example of how we’re leveraging our F1 application expertise to develop advanced solutions that give our customers a competitive edge. We’ve been impressed by the results the Team has experienced in the wind tunnel and look forward to seeing their success on the circuit this season.”

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