The military’s first 3D-printed submersible hull out of carbon fiber composite.
The military’s first 3D-printed submersible hull out of carbon fiber composite.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the US Navy’s Disruptive Technology Lab, have created what they say is the military’s first 3D-printed submersible hull out of carbon fiber composite.

The Optionally Manned Technology Demonstrator is a prototype vessel that could be used to deploy logistics capabilities and sensors.

The company used big area additive manufacturing (BAAM) to make the six carbon fiber composites pieces of the hull in around four weeks, according to the researchers. While the cost of a traditional hull ranges from US$600,000 to US$800,000 and typically takes 3-5 months to manufacture, using BAAM reportedly reduced hull production costs by 90% and shortened production time to a matter of days. 

The organizations next plan to create a second, water-tight version of the hull that will be tested in the wave pool.

This story is reprinted from material from Oak Ridgewith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.