Fueling 3D Printing

By Jessica Alvarez

Fueling 3D Printing

By Jessica Alvarez
Postdoctoral associate Cagri Oztan shares his passion of 3D printing and aerospace engineering.

The creation of 3D printing has allowed researchers to tailor material for almost any purpose. College of Engineering postdoctoral associate Cagri Oztan has taken this technology and applied it to aerospace research. He applies 3D printing technologies on rocket fuels to increase the usability of hybrid rockets for space missions. Hybrid rockets suffer from low fuel combustion efficiency and fuel burn rate, which hinders their potential of adaptation in larger scales.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Cagri, along with many researchers within the scientific community, faced temporary setbacks in their research. In particular, for his project, he would need to test the novel fuels using the lab-scale rocket test setup regularly to understand their combustion behavior. Without the ability to use this setup for a while due to the virus, after a few months, he was cleared to reenter the lab and continue his work. Cagri goes on to say, “My work was hindered for a few months but after I received the all-clear to proceed lab work, I continued in full speed.”

When asked what makes his work so exciting, Cagri explains, “The highly adaptable and versatile method of 3D printing makes me excited to explore the almost unlimited possibilities it can help create.” As of now, he has demonstrated that 3D printing and nanoengineering strategies have successfully increased the usability of hybrid rockets. He also aims to overcome the shortages of hybrid rockets and pave a path towards more efficient aerospace missions and increase the usability of hybrid rockets for space missions.