Revolutionary design of titanium alloy with supreme properties by 3D printing

The brand new titanium alloy developed by Metropolis College of Hong Kong utilizing 3D printing has lava-like microstructures that give rise to its glorious mechanical properties. Credit score: Metropolis College of Hong Kong

A examine led by scientists from Metropolis College of Hong Kong (CityU) has efficiently developed a super-strong, extremely ductile and super-light titanium-based alloy utilizing additive manufacturing, generally often known as 3D printing. Their findings open up a brand new pathway to design alloys with unprecedented constructions and properties for numerous structural purposes.

The analysis staff was led by Professor Liu Chain-Tsuan, College Distinguished Professor within the School of Engineering and Senior Fellow of CityU’s Hong Kong Institute for Superior Research (HKIAS). Dr. Zhang Tianlong, a postdoc within the Division of Supplies Science and Engineering (MSE), carried out the experiments. Their paper, to which President Approach Kuo of CityU additionally contributed, was revealed not too long ago within the prestigious scientific journal Science, titled “In situ design of superior titanium alloy with focus modulations by additive manufacturing.”

3D printing: Not only a shaping expertise

Most individuals contemplate 3D printing as a revolutionary expertise that may produce machine components with advanced shapes inside only one step. “Nevertheless, we unveiled that it has essential potential in designing supplies reasonably than merely designing geometries,” mentioned Dr. Zhang, who accomplished his Ph.D. at CityU beneath Professor Liu’s supervision earlier this yr.

Metallurgists are likely to suppose {that a} lack of uniformity in alloy parts is undesirable as a result of it results in dangerous properties, similar to brittleness. One of many key points within the additive manufacturing course of is the best way to eradicate this inhomogeneity throughout quick cooling. However Dr. Zhang’s earlier modeling and simulation examine discovered {that a} sure diploma of heterogeneity within the parts can truly produce distinctive and heterogeneous microstructures that improve the alloy’s properties. So he tried to place these simulation outcomes into actuality by utilizing the additive manufacturing.

Innovative design of titanium alloy with supreme properties by 3D printing
Grain orientation map of the 3D-printed titanium alloy developed by the Metropolis College of Hong Kong analysis staff. Credit score: Dr Zhang Tianlong

Designing distinctive microstructures

“The distinctive options of additive manufacturing present us with a larger freedom in designing microstructures,” Dr. Zhang defined, who can be the primary writer of the paper. “Particularly, we’ve got developed a partial homogenisation technique to supply alloys with micrometer-scale focus gradients with the help of 3D printing, which is unachievable by any standard strategies of fabric manufacturing.”

Their proposed technique includes the melting and mixing of two totally different alloy powders and chrome steel powders utilizing a targeted laser beam. By controlling parameters just like the laser energy and its scanning pace in the course of the 3D printing course of, the staff efficiently created the non-uniform composition of the weather within the new alloy in a controllable manner.

“Along with using additive manufacturing, the composition of the 2 powder combination is one other key to creating the unprecedented lava-like microstructures with a excessive metastability within the new alloy,” mentioned Professor Liu. “These distinctive microstructures give rise to the supreme mechanical properties, permitting the alloy to be very sturdy however ductile, and in gentle weight.”

  • Innovative design of titanium alloy with supreme properties by 3D printing
    Lava-like microstructure in 3D-printed titanium alloy developed by the analysis staff led by Metropolis College of Hong Kong. Credit score: Dr Zhang Tianlong
  • Innovative design of titanium alloy with supreme properties by 3D printing
    The experimental outcomes present that the brand new titanium alloy has supreme mechanical properties. Credit score: Dr Zhang Tianlong

Novel alloy: 40% lighter and super-strong

Whereas chrome steel is usually 7.9 grams per cubic centimeter, the brand new alloy is just 4.5 grams per cubic centimeter, leading to round 40% lighter weight. Of their experiments, the titanium alloy with lava-like microstructures exhibited a excessive tensile energy of ~1.3 gigapascals with a uniform elongation of about 9%. It additionally had a wonderful work-hardening capability of over 300 megapascals, which ensures a big security margin previous to fracture, helpful in structural purposes.

“These glorious properties are promising for structural purposes in numerous eventualities, such because the aerospace, automotive, chemical, and medical industries,” mentioned Professor Liu.

“As the primary staff to make use of 3D printing to develop new alloys with distinctive microstructures and properties, we are going to additional apply this design concept to totally different alloy methods to additional discover different properties of the brand new alloys,” he added.


Tweaking alloy microchemistry for flawless steel 3D printing


Extra info:
Tianlong Zhang et al, In situ design of superior titanium alloy with focus modulations by additive manufacturing, Science (2021). DOI: 10.1126/science.abj3770

Offered by
Metropolis College of Hong Kong


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