3D printing improving metal’s manifacturing control


large_shutterstock_206705884US Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers have shown an additive manufacturing method to control the structure and properties of metal parts with a precision unmatched by manufacturing processes conventional.

With the new technique, it is now possible to control the properties of the materials in every corner of the interior of the piece, thus expanding the design possibilities to devise hardware. This new manufacturing method will help make components that are stronger, lighter and work better in order to achieve energy efficient applications in the transport sector and in the production of electricity, such as in cars and wind turbines.

Dehoff equipment Ryan, US Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, has proven method using a casting system ARCAM electron beam, which are fused together with the latter successive layers of metal powder, to obtain a metallic object with all the desired relief. No mere sheet with jagged edges. Manipulating the appropriate mode for controlling the solidification process on a microscopic scale, researchers have shown a dramatic three-dimensional control of the microstructure or crystallographic texture during the formation of a nickel-base piece.

The crystallographic texture plays an important role in determining the mechanical and physical properties of a material. Applications ranging from microelectronics components capable to withstand the high temperatures of a jet aircraft engine, dependent on the crystallographic texture adjusted to achieve the desired performance characteristics.

ORNL researchers have demonstrated the ability to control precisely, during the formation of printed metal pieces 3D, the structure and properties of these. The picture shows variations in the crystallographic orientation in one piece made from nickel, achieved by precisely controlling the 3D printing process microscale.