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What kind of metal can be used for 3D printing?

Rapid prototyping technology known also as additive manufacturing technology or 3D printer technology is the key technology in the “third industrial Revolution”. Three-dimensional metal printing is the next frontier in manufacturing. It’s the fundamental material for metal printing and a significant breakthrough in 3D printer technology.

The titanium alloy

Titanium alloy is highly resistant to heat, high corrosion resistance, strong strength, low density, and biocompatibility. It has been used widely in various fields including the aerospace and chemical industries as well nuclear industry, sports equipment and medical devices. It has been used extensively in high-tech areas as a titanium alloy part. These parts are made from traditional forging and casting technologies. This is the case for F14, F15 & F117 US military aircraft. The titanium content in these planes are: 24%, 27%, 25%, 26%. Another example is the 42% of a Boeing747 aircraft that has 42.7t in titanium. Forging and casting traditional techniques to produce large amounts of titanium alloy are not widely applicable due to unfavorable conditions such as high production costs, complex process and low material utilization rate. Because metal 3D printer technology solves these problems fundamentally, it has recently become an innovative technology that allows direct manufacturing of titanium alloy pieces.

Aluminum alloy

While aluminum alloys possess excellent physical, mechanical and chemical properties, many have used them in many different fields. The problem with selective laser melting is increased by their inherent properties: easy oxidation. High reflectivity. SLM-formed aluminum alloy has problems, such as residual stress, oxidation or pore imperfections and high density. A strict protective atmosphere is essential to avoid these problems. It also increases the power of the scanner (minimum 150 W) and reduces its speed.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel offers high mechanical and chemical resistance as well as resistance to high temperature. It is the oldest material that has been used to 3D-metal printing because it can be powdered easily, requires little preparation time and is very affordable.

SUPERALLOY

Superalloy means a form of metal which can work long hours at 600 °C. It exhibits high resistance to heat corrosion and other oxidation as well as good plasticity. It is currently divided according to its alloy matrix into three types: cobalt and nickel-based. The majority of superalloys is used in high-performance engine applications. Advanced aeroengines are built with high-temperature alloy materials that account for around 40% to 60%. It is becoming increasingly important to use superalloys for high-performance engines. Traditional ingot-metallurgy processes have a slow cooling speed, significant segregation and the second stage in an ingot. They also suffer from poor thermal processing performance and uneven organization. This results in unstable performance. 3. It is now possible to use 3D printing technology to overcome technical issues in the production of superalloys.

Instruction of development

  • How do you strengthen the relationship of properties and structure of material? Based on existing materials? Further optimizing process parameters according to nature of materials.
  • Create 3D printed materials, like new materials with outstanding corrosion resistance and excellent high-temperature resistance.
  • Improve and revise technical standards for 3D printing with powder materials. Establish normalization procedures and norms for metal material printing technology standards.

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