Some LGO students dive deep into scientific research topics and work in a company as an R&D intern. These projects use cutting-edge technologies to solve unique problems or create new discoveries. They use engineering research practices and find ways to apply those discoveries in a business context. The result is often a new product or design.
Assessing the opportunity to produce Nitinol medical device components using additive manufacturing
Arvind Kalidindi (LGO ’19)
Engineering Department: Materials Science and Engineering (PhD)
Company: Boston Scientific
Location: Clonmel, Ireland
Problem: The strength and elasticity of Nitinol (a nickel-titanium alloy) make it an important alloy for medical device applications. Nitinol is hard to manufacture cost-effectively while maintaining its superelastic properties. Boston Scientific sought to leverage Arvind’s PhD-level expertise in additive manufacturing to explore 3D printing as a new way to manufacture Nitinol effectively.
Approach: At Boston Scientific’s plant in Clonmel, Ireland, Arvind printed a hundred Nitinol samples to conduct a design of experiment procedure to optimize for desired part characteristics. Arvind identified loss of nickel during printing as the key engineering challenge, and created a cost and engineering model for addressing these challenges during future 3D printing operations.
Impact: Arvind found that 3D prototyping and printing of millimeter-sized components would be a cost-effective way to leverage additive manufacturing in the short term, showing distinct advantages over conventional methods such as micromachining.