Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research identifies how 3-D printed metals can be both strong and ductile

11.12.2017

A new technique by which to 3D print metals, involving a widely used stainless steel, has been show to achieve exception levels of both strength and ductility, when compared to counterparts from more conventional processes.

The findings, published in Materials Today, outline how a joint research team from the University of Birmingham, UK, Stockholm University, Sweden and Zhejiang University, China were able to optimizing the process parameters during 3D printing to achieve the results.


3-D printed part for nuclear fusion test reactor.

Credit: Dr. Leifeng Liu, University of Birmingham

The research is contrary to the sceptcism around the ability to make strong and ductile metals through 3D printing, and as such the discovery is crucial to moving the technology forward for the manufacturing of heavy duty parts.

3D printing has long been recognized as a technology which can potentially change our way of manufacturing, allowing us to rapidly build up objects with complex and customized geometries.

With the accelerating development of the technology in recent years, 3D printing, especially metal 3D printing, is quickly progressing toward widespread industrial application.

Indeed, the manufacturing giant General Electric (GE) has already been using metal 3D printing to produce some key parts, such as the fuel nozzles in their latest LEAP aircraft engine. The technology helps GE to reduce 900 separate components into just 16, and make fuel nozzles 40% lighter and 60% cheaper.

The global revenue from the industry is forecasted to be over 20 billion USD per year by 2025. Despite the bright future, the quality of the products from metal 3D printing has been prone to scepticism. In most metal 3D printing processes, products are directly built up from metal powders, which makes it susceptible to defects, thus causing deterioration of mechanical properties.

Dr. Leifeng Liu, who is the main participant of the project, recently moved to the University of Birmingham from Stockholm University as an AMCASH research fellow. He said, "Strength and ductility are natural enemies of one another, most methods developed to strengthen metals consequently reduce ductility."

"The 3D printing technique is known to produce objects with previously inaccessible shapes, and our work shows that it also provides the possibility to produce the next generation of structural alloys with significant improvements in both strength and ductility."

This has been made possible thanks to the ultrafast cooling rate, estimated to range from 1000oC per second to 100 million oC per second - something that was not possible in bulk metal production process until the emergence of 3D printing.

Metals that are cooled down so quickly result in a so-called non-equilibrium state, allowing for some amazing microstructures like the sub-micro-sized dislocation network - which was revealed in this paper to be the main reason of the improved mechanical properties.

Dr Liu continued, "This work gives researchers a brand new tool to design new alloy systems with ultra-mechanical properties. It also helps metal 3D printing to gain access into the field where high mechanical properties are required like structural parts in aerospace and automotive industry."

Dr. Yu-Lung Chiu, Dr. Ji Zou and Dr. Jing Wu, all from School of Metallurgy and Materials at the University of Birmingham, comprise the Birmingham team in this research. Dr. Chiu, who is in charge of the Electron Microscopy Centre, has established a micro and nano material testing system inside the electron microscopes which makes it possible to analyse in-situ the performance and mechanism of the sample during mechanical tests. It greatly helps to identify effective microstructural features for improved properties and, more importantly, to understand the mechanisms.

Luke Harrison | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Structured light and nanomaterials open new ways to tailor light at the nanoscale
23.04.2018 | Academy of Finland

nachricht On the shape of the 'petal' for the dissipation curve
23.04.2018 | Lobachevsky University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum Technology for Advanced Imaging – QUILT

24.04.2018 | Information Technology

AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice

24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled

24.04.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>