A research team led by engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a new three-dimensional (3D) printing method for strengthening materials. The process involves the 3D printing of a metallic powder reinforced with ceramic nanowires.
The researchers milled commercial Inconel 718 (a superalloy) powders with ceramic nanowires, then used the resulting powder to develop parts via laser powder bed fusion, which involves 3D printing thin layers of power that are melted in a specific pattern using a laser. Parts produced using the new powder were less porous and had fewer cracks than those produced with Inconel 718 alone. The parts also were more ductile and more resistant to radiation and high-temperature loading.
MIT's Ju Li, a co-author of the published report, said the process is cost-effective because it works with existing 3D printers and could revolutionize alloy design due to the faster cooling rate of ultrathin 3D-printed layers of metal alloys.
From MIT News
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