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Liquid Metals Aren’t Easy to 3D Print, But These Companies Are Doing it – DesignNews

by • July 12, 2016 • 22s Comments

Germany-based precious metals tremendous Heraeus and Swedish startup Exmet have which good resultsfully 3D printed amorphous metals. This is no tiny feat: these materials, in addition called liquid metals or metallic glass, haven’t precisely been effortless to create via conventional producing methods.
Why may you want to work with liquid metals? Because their combined characteristics aren’t discovered together in conventional metals, due to a different types of atomic structure. Most conventional metals are crystalline when solid, versus amorphous metals, which have a disordered, non-crystalline structure additional like glass, created when metal cools quite rapidly. Compared to conventional metals, liquid metals are harder, additional corrosion-resistant, and combine both high durablity and malleability, said Tobias Caspari, head of 3D printing at Heraeus New Businesses.

 Heraeus and Exmet have which good resultsfully 3D printed amorphous metals via a system which promises to create larger parts with additional harsh shapes than have been possible with conventional systemes. (Source: Heraeus)

Heraeus and Exmet have which good resultsfully 3D printed amorphous metals via a system which promises to create larger parts with additional harsh shapes than have been possible with conventional systemes.
(Source: Heraeus)
Amorphous metals are scratch-proof and energy-absorbing, yet retain great spring characteristics. These qualities manufacture them great for consumer electronics casings, diaphragms in injection nozzles, and dome tweeters for speakers. Caspari said the two companies intend to use these materials and Exmet’s patented system to commercialize amorphous metals for different types of industrial uses.
On the other hand amorphous metals have been created and utilized in limited quantities for producing tiny parts for several decades, their commercial good results has been held back by inadequate producing methods, said Exmet’s co-discovereder and CEO Mattias Unosson. According to the company’s website, the additive producing (AM) system it has been developing for these materials can fabricate products created of approximately any metal alloy — which include iron, titanium, aluminum, magnesium, or cobalt — and of approximately any shape.

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Heraeus, which has been developing 3D printing metal powders for a few time, has been experimenting with 3D-printing systemes and metal powder materials in tandem for the reason of the importance of matching the component to be printed with a specific metal powder and printing system. According to an article in the company’s 2014 yearly report, the aim is to reduce the cost of producing and improve product high end for its customers. The company has previously utilized AM for prototyping customers’ metal parts, but is now developing 3D printing powders of refractory precious metals and special alloys to create its own materials. The goal is to manufacture tiny quantities of such parts for aerospace, medical, and car industries, as well as parts to be utilized internally at the company’s own plants.
“We are experimenting with mixtures of different types of substances and can thus do research into materials with new characteristics,” said Dr. Hans-Juergen Wachter, executive vice president of innovation & scouting for Heraeus New Businesses. The company is focvia on high melting metal powders, and is may already testing binder jetting and laser sintering systemes. It has may already purchased two plants for 3D printing: an electron beam furnace and a 3D laser plant. With these, it can conduct smelting and printing trials with different types of materials.

 This satellite thruster nozzle was 3D printed with a conventional platinum-rhodium 20 alloy powder of Heraeus for a European Space Agency project. It was which good resultsfully hot-fire tested, and the initially satellite with 3D-printed thruster nozzles is planned to commence following year. (Source: Heraeus)

This satellite thruster nozzle was 3D printed with a conventional platinum-rhodium 20 alloy powder of Heraeus for a European Space Agency project. It was which good resultsfully hot-fire tested, and the initially satellite with 3D-printed thruster nozzles is planned to commence following year.
(Source: Heraeus)
Satellite thruster nozzles have may already been 3D printed with one of Heraeus’ conventional metal powders, a platinum-rhodium 20 alloy. As part of a European Space Agency project, the thruster passed a hot-fire test last fall at Airbus’ Defense & Space facility in Germany. The initially satellite with 3D-printed thruster nozzles is planned for commence in 2017.
Ann R. Thryft is senior technical editor, materials & assembly, for Design News. She’s been writing of producing- and electronics-related technologies for 28 years, covering producing materials & systemes, alternative energy, machine vision, and all kinds of communications.


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