New titanium alloy has highest specific strength of any 3D-printed metal

Engineers at Monash University have developed a brand new 3D-printable titanium alloy with a novel microstructure that makes it ultra-strong. Not solely is it stronger than most different varieties of titanium, however it has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any 3D-printed metal ever made.

Titanium alloys are already prized in trade due to their strength and comparatively gentle weight, which makes them excellent for plane and different automobiles. But there’s at all times room for enchancment, and the brand new Monash alloy not solely boasts higher strength, however as a result of it’s 3D printed, it’s a lot simpler to make into no matter form is required.

The staff begins with a standard 3D printing approach the place a mattress of powdered metal is melted by a laser, fusing it right into a strong layer by layer. In this case, that powdered metal is the generally used beta-titanium alloy. Next, the fabric undergoes warmth remedy at temperatures between 480 and 520 °C (896 and 968 °F), which produces a microstructure that provides the alloy its unbelievable strength.

The remedy course of causes particles of titanium to precipitate collectively in nanograins, which merge in “nanotwin” constructions that every share a standard facet. The staff says that is the primary titanium alloy to exhibit this type of structure, and it makes it a lot stronger than standard.

In exams, the staff demonstrated that the brand new titanium alloy had each elongation and tensile strengths (stretching and pressure, respectively) of over 1,600 MPa. For reference, most industrial titanium alloys prime out at round 1,000 MPa. This can also be the highest specific strength for any different 3D-printed metal alloy, the staff says.

“Our findings offer a completely new approach to precipitation strengthening in commercial alloys that can be utilized to produce real components with complex shape for load-bearing application,” mentioned Professor Aijun Huang, lead researcher on the research. “This application is still absent for any titanium alloys to date. The 3D printing plus simple heat treatment also means the process cost is greatly reduced compared to other materials with similar strength.”

The analysis was revealed within the journal Nature Materials.

Source: Monash University

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