In recent years, it has been possible to use laser beams and electron beams to “print” engineering objects with complex shapes that cannot be achieved by conventional manufacturing. The additive manufacturing (AM) process or 3D printing of metallic materials involves melting and fusing fine powder particles in a sub-millimeter “pool” produced under the following conditions (each particle is about 10 times finer than beach sand) Focus the laser beam or electron beam on the material.

Tresa Pollock, Professor of Materials Science and Associate Dean of the School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said: “The highly focused beam provides precise control and can “tune” performance at key locations on the printed object. “Unfortunately, at Many advanced metal alloys used in the extreme heat-intensive and chemically corrosive environments encountered in energy, space and nuclear applications are not compatible with additive manufacturing processes. ”

Defect-resistant super alloy that can be 3D printed comes out

For Pollock, a world-renowned scientist engaged in advanced metal materials and coating research, the challenge of discovering new AM compatible materials is unstoppable. She said: “This is very interesting because a set of highly compatible alloys can change the production of metal materials with high economic value, that is, expensive materials, because their components are relatively rare in the earth’s crust. Designs with complex geometric shapes can be manufactured, Reduce material waste.

“Most ultra-high-strength alloys that work in extreme environments cannot be printed because they will crack,” continued Pollock, ALCOA’s Professor of Distinguished Materials. “When the materials are taken out and subjected to some heat treatment, when they are still in the printed state, they may break in the liquid state, or break in the solid state. This prevents people from using the alloy airplanes we currently use in applications such as the following The engine is printed with new designs, which can greatly improve performance or energy efficiency, for example.”

Now, in an article in Nature Communications, Pollock is collaborating with Carpenter Technologies, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, UCSB scientists Chris Torbet and Gareth Seward, and UCSB PhD. The students of Sean Murray, Kira Pusch and Andrew Polonsky described a new type of super alloy that overcomes this crack problem. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the use of AM to produce complex disposable components for high stress and high strength. Performance environment.

This research was supported by Pollock’s $3 million Vanneval Bush Faculty Fellowship (VBFF) from the U.S. Department of Defense in 2017. VBFF is the most prestigious single researcher award of the Department of Defense, supporting basic research that may be transformative.

In this article, the author describes a new class of high-strength, defect-resistant, 3D-printable superalloys, defined as typical nickel-based alloys that can maintain their material integrity at temperatures up to 90% of their melting point. Most alloys will crack at 50% of their melting temperature. These new super alloys contain approximately equal amounts of cobalt (Co) and nickel (Ni), as well as smaller amounts of other elements. These materials are suitable for crack-free 3D printing by electron beam melting (EBM) and the more challenging laser powder bed method, making them versatile for many printers entering the market.

Because nickel-based superalloys have excellent mechanical properties at high temperatures, they are the material of choice for structural components such as single crystal (SX) turbine blades and blades used in the hot zone of aircraft engines. In a variant of the superalloy developed by the team, Pollock said: “The high proportion of cobalt allows us to design the characteristics of the liquid and solid state of the alloy to make it compatible with various printing conditions.”

A project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and consistent with the National Genome Genome Initiative has completed previous work and promoted the development of new alloys. The basic goal of the project is to develop advanced The material “supports research at twice the speed to meet the huge challenges facing society.”

Pollock’s NSF work in this field was carried out in collaboration with Carlos G. Levi and Anton Van der Ven, professors of other materials at UCSB. Their work involves the development and integration of a set of calculation and high-throughput alloy design tools to explore the large multi-component composition space required for the discovery of new alloys. While discussing the new paper, Pollock also acknowledged the important role of the collaborative research environment of the School of Engineering to make this work possible.

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