An Arctic mission will test the use of 3D printing technology.

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The U.S. Coast Guard’s icebreaker, the USCGC Healy, is about to embark on an incredible seven-week journey through the Arctic. But this isn’t just any ordinary expedition – the Healy will be hosting researchers from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) who are on a mission to study how extreme Arctic conditions affect crew performance and to explore the use of advanced additive manufacturing technologies in adverse sea environments.

Led by the esteemed Dr. Nita Shattuck, a professor at NPS, this study aims to improve the readiness and safety of Coast Guard and Navy crews who operate in challenging Arctic environments. The crewmembers of the Healy face extremely harsh conditions during their journey, including near-constant daylight, extreme cold, and isolation. In such conditions, it is crucial for them to get healthy sleep and optimize their performance.

To gather data for their study, the researchers will be utilizing innovative wearable technology to continuously monitor the crewmembers’ physiological data, such as sleep patterns, heart rate, and oxygen saturation. These insights will help in enhancing shipboard habitability and improving the readiness of warfighters operating in extreme Arctic conditions.

But that’s not all – the study also involves testing an Amos01 3D printer equipped with a data acquisition system to assess its performance in the challenging Arctic environment. This could be a game-changer for 3D printing parts at sea, especially in remote or contested areas with limited supply chains. The ability to create essential components on-demand would greatly enhance the operational capabilities of the Coast Guard and Navy in Arctic operations.

It’s worth mentioning that this project aligns perfectly with the U.S. Tri-Service Maritime Strategy’s goals of enhancing integration among the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. As the largest and most technologically-advanced icebreaker in the Coast Guard, the Healy has the potential to shape the future of ship designs and operational concepts.

As Arctic operations continue to grow, the lessons learned from this research will undoubtedly influence future endeavors in the region. The aim is to ensure that crews and equipment can perform at their best even in the harshest conditions. So if you’re interested in learning more about this incredible Arctic journey or if you have any thoughts to share, head over to our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. And don’t forget to sign up for our weekly additive manufacturing newsletter to stay updated with the latest stories delivered directly to your inbox.

This is an exciting time for exploration and innovation, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this groundbreaking research aboard the USCGC Healy.

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