Making a product stiff in one area while flexible in other regions can be achieved by manufacturing the product in multiple materials. A stiffer material at one end of the object would then be attached to a more flexible material at the other end. But wouldn’t it be great if the same product could be manufactured in one piece and in one material? And why stop there? How about varying the stiffness of the object continuously throughout the object and tailoring the exact stiffness of each and every region of the object?
With our unique optimised lattice structures, we can tailor the stiffness of your products in every region to suit your requirements.
This benefit is very often linked that that of weight reduction. Since it’s the retaining of stiffness when the mass of the object is reduced which is key. Due to traditional manufacturing methods and design rules, products often have multiple regions that are over-engineered. Their stiffness in those regions is more than required. By redesigning the product using Within’s optimisation algorithms, the product can be designed in such a way as to retain the required stiffness in all regions (within the requisite safety factor).
Formula One - Wing Profiles
Currently, wing profiles are manufactured by layering carbon fibre which is both light-weight and very stiff. The lightness of the panels is crucial for speed while the stiffness minimises turbulence in the aerodynamics of the car, improving its agility.
Recent innovations at Within have indicated that it may be possible to manufacture wing profiles using ALM and to design them with an optimised internal lattice that provides an even greater stiffness to weight ratio than carbon fibre.
Though still in its preliminary stages, this research project has already demonstrated that panels could be created and manufactured that had a variable stiffness along their surface.