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 UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion
16.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire

nachricht NASA keeps watch over space explosions
16.11.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New materials: Growing polymer pelts

19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize

19.11.2018 | Information Technology

Controlling organ growth with light

19.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>