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I am Professor Glenn Daehn of The Ohio State University. My group works on manufacturing process innovation. We often harness energetic discharges from capacitor banks to cause metal to be formed, joined, cut or modified, enabling new products.
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Hello, I am Glenn Daehn, a professor of materials science and engineering at The Ohio State University. I find great joy and concern in manufacturing process innovation. On the joy side, my group is working in the unusual area of impulse manufacturing. This is using short-duration, high-amplitude pressure pulses that we use to make things. Usually we shape, cut or weld materials using very high pressures or speeds. Capacitor bank discharge is typically where the energy is stored, and this is then it is turned to mechanical work in one of a number of ways such as by a Lorentz magnetic repulsion from a coil, or by developing a very large pressure pulse by vaporizing a shaped thin metal foil. Examples of what we do are available at my group’s website at http://iml.osu.edu. Recently, we have had great interest in using this as a method for the solid-state welding of metals. To allow us to get into a deep and geeky conversation on this, I’ve prepared a fairly rapid-pace 35 minute lecture on this that you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H3M8yLKNjY&spfreload=10 We are very interested in developing these impulse manufacturing techniques as go-to methods for manufacturing. Two things lack. First is a good design-science foundation for this work. We (and other researchers – see: http://i2fg.org) are developing that now, and we have invested in some great instrumentation. Second, we need to disseminate these ideas and get some early adopters into this space. I am grateful to reddit for helping sine some light on this technical area. At the risk of diluting the technical conversation, we may also discuss the overall climate for process innovation in America. The US does a breathtakingly good job of top-rate academic research. But in my opinion, we only do a marginal job of process innovation when it comes to new physical systems in areas like metal processing and manufacturing, which are vital to our economy, sustainability and security. I’d be happy to discuss if the US is making the right investments and training people with the right skills to innovate in capital-intensive industries. I think the maker movement and projects like the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation institutes represent great steps in the right direction, but wonder if they are sufficient when we look around our competitive world. Proof: http://imgur.com/w1h8D5f I will be back at 1 pm ET (10 PT, 6 pm UTC) to answer your questions, ask me anything! Hey – gotta take off for now. Will try to check back later. Thanks all for the awesome questions and response and thought provoking questions. Its clear a lot of people would like to try these methods themselves! I’ll see what we can do there. I’ll try to do one more pass at the board tomorrow (Tue).