A world-first study by engineers at Monash University has demonstrated how cutting-edge 3D printing techniques can be used to produce an ultra-strong commercial titanium alloy.
Australian researchers, led by Professor Aijun Huang and Dr Yuman Zhu from Monash University, have used a 3D printing method to manipulate a novel microstructure. In doing so, they achieved unprecedented mechanical performance.
Research into Ultrastrong Nanomesh Titanium Alloys through additive manufacturing study has been undertaken on commercially available alloys and can be applied immediately.
“Titanium alloys require complex casting and thermomechanical processing to achieve the high strengths required for certain critical applications,” said Professor Huang.
“We discovered that additive manufacturing can leverage its unique manufacturing process to create ultra-strong and thermally stable parts in commercial titanium alloys, which can be directly implemented in service.
“After a simple post-heat treatment on a commercial titanium alloy, adequate elongation and tensile strengths in excess of 1,600 MPa are achieved, the highest specific strength of any 3D printed metal to date”, he continued.
“This work paves the way for the fabrication of structural materials with unique microstructures and excellent properties for broad applications.”
According to research from Monash University, titanium alloys are currently leading 3D printed metal components for the aerospace industry. However, the report claims that most commercially available titanium alloys made by 3D printing lack satisfactory properties for many structural applications, particularly their insufficient strength at room temperature and high strength under severe service conditions.
“Our findings offer an entirely new approach to precipitation strengthening in commercial alloys that can be used to produce real components with a complex shape for a load-bearing application. This application is still missing for all titanium alloys to date,” Prof. Huang said.
“The 3D printing and simple heat treatment also means that the cost of the process is significantly reduced compared to other materials of similar strength.”
The results of this work should lead to fundamental knowledge of the principles of reinforcement and dislocation engineering in the field of physical metallurgy.
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