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3D-printed alloy 600 times as resistant to stress as existing alloys

3D-printed alloy 600 times as resistant to stress as existing alloys
High-resolution characterization of GRX-810 microstructure. a, Scanning transmission electron microscopy–energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (STEM–EDS) combined Y and C map showing C segregation at the oxide–matrix interface. b, BF–STEM diffraction contrast image (DCI) micrograph (electron beam is parallel with [001] zone axis of matrix) of dislocation interaction with oxides (black arrows) and the presence of stacking-fault tetrahedra (red arrows). c, STEM–EDS combined W and Re map showing segregation at grain boundary and surrounding the carbide. d, Integrated line scans (at.%), from the rectangle outlined in c, showing segregation of Cr, W and Re and depletion of Co and Ni at the grain boundary. Elements not measuring any change across the boundary are not shown. e, Atomic resolution [011] zone axis HAADF–STEM image of GRX-810 lattice. f, Fast Fourier transformation of the image in e showing the absence of any additional superlattice spots. Both d and e suggest that local chemical ordering is not present. Credit: Nature (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-05893-0

A team of materials scientists from NASA working with a colleague from The Ohio State University and another from HX5 LLC has developed a 3D printing process that produces an alloy that is much more resistant to stress than others now in use. Their study is reported in Nature.

As scientists develop new ways to produce energy and explore space, a need has arisen for materials that can survive under —those used to make rocket nozzles, for example. To meet that need, have been creating alloys that are ever more resistant to heat and other stressful elements. In this new effort, the research team took a big step forward by developing a 3D process to create an alloy that is much more resilient than anything created thus far.

Prior research has shown that adding ceramic to gives them more resilience. Unfortunately, adding ceramic has proven to be problematic due to the difference in characteristics of metals and ceramics—the lighter ceramic bits tend to float to the top when added to . To overcome that problem, the researchers turned to 3D printing.

They used an "ink" made of a mixture of cobalt, nickel and chrome particles and programmed the printer to add a dusting of yttrium oxide powder to each layer of ink. As the printing progresses, a layer of the metal alloy is printed onto a surface, followed by a fine layer of yttrium oxide particles, which are then heated with a laser, forcing the particles into the metal alloy. The result is a layer of metal alloy infused with tiny pieces of ceramic material. As the process continues, an object is created—a nozzle, for example. The researchers call the new alloy GRX-810.

The team tested their using the "creep test," whereby a test material is subjected to high temperatures while also carrying a heavy load to provide stress. The longer it lasts, the more resistant the material. Current top materials typically last approximately 10 hours— GRX-810 lasted for 6,500 hours.

More information: Timothy M. Smith et al, A 3D printable alloy designed for extreme environments, Nature (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-05893-0

Journal information: Nature

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Citation: 3D-printed alloy 600 times as resistant to stress as existing alloys (2023, April 20) retrieved 24 May 2024 from
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