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Video: Print Safe Steel Products In 3D With A New Alloy
2023 Author: Hannah Pearcy | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 11:39
Steel alloys have previously been used for additive manufacturing, but a new starting material in combination with the electron beam printing process is now delivering significantly higher quality in many respects, making it useful in many areas of application for the first time, according to the materials scientist Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Niendorf from the University of Kassel. His Emmy Noether research group, funded by the German Research Foundation, developed the alloy and the process together with colleagues from the TU Bergakademie Freiberg. The results were published in the latest edition of the renowned research journal Scientific Reports, an open access journal of the Nature publishing group.
TRIP steel alloy serves as the basis
To develop their new material, the researchers followed a path that has not yet been followed: they use a so-called TRIP steel alloy as a basis, which shows excellent stability due to special deformation mechanisms. They use the heat available in the electron beam printing process so cleverly that the previously unpredictable unpredictability of the material properties is avoided. The result is a better internal material structure in the end product; this protects against unexpected breaks and other possible damage.
"Applications in aerospace and automotive technology, among others, the current drivers behind the technological development of 3D printing, will benefit significantly from this. 3D metal printing will open up new areas on this basis,”Prof. Niendorf is certain. The additive process is particularly suitable for complex, small components. Niendorf sees enormous potential for the German economy in metal 3D printing: "German manufacturers are leaders in the production of metal powders and the construction of systems for 3D laser melting." Until now, titanium alloys have dominated 3D printing with metals worldwide. In contrast to the titanium products, the steel components printed with the new process do not have to be reworked, which makes them significantly cheaper to manufacture.
Filigree and resilient structures
In metal 3D printing, products are built up additively in micrometer-thin layers. To do this, metal powder is melted by an electron beam, laser or other heat sources. This process enables very delicate, complex and at the same time resilient structures. The search for new materials and processes suitable for 3D printing is one of the main research areas of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Niendorf. He has held a professorship for metallic materials at the University of Kassel since 2015. In the field of additive manufacturing, he researches the manufacturing process and the microstructure, the mechanical properties and the damage development of objects from the 3D printer. (yup)
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