According to foreign media reports, researchers from Texas A&M University and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFR) have developed a defect-free 3D printing technology for martensitic steel parts. Compared with similar steels, martensitic steels are stronger and more cost-effective, and are used in aerospace, automotive and defense industries.
Ibrahim Karaman, head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the school, said: “Tough steel is widely used, but usually expensive. Martensitic steel is the only exception, less than one dollar per pound, and relatively low cost. We developed a The 3D printing frame can print these hard steels into flawless objects of any geometric shape.”
What is martensitic steel?
For thousands of years, metallurgists have been carefully adjusting the composition of steel to enhance its performance. To this day, there is a product called martensitic steel that stands out in its steel category because it is stronger and more cost-effective.
Steel is a material made by smelting iron and carbon. Martensitic steel is manufactured by a high-temperature-quick cooling method. This sudden cooling process confines carbon atoms in the iron crystals, giving martensitic steel its unique strength.
The industry has a high demand for tough steel, but its price is too expensive. Martensitic steel is an exception. Its cost is relatively low, less than one dollar per pound.
Martensitic steel is very suitable for fields that require the manufacture of high-strength, lightweight parts without increasing costs, such as aerospace, automotive and defense industries.
Technical improvement 3D printing high-strength defect-free martensitic steel
In order to have multiple uses, it is necessary to assemble martensitic steels, especially types called low-alloy martensitic steels, into objects with different shapes and sizes according to specific applications. Additive manufacturing (often called 3D printing) provides a practical solution. Using this technology, a single layer of metal powder can be heated and melted in a pattern by using a high-energy laser beam to build complex parts layer by layer. Connect and stack all these layers to print the final 3D printed object.
However, 3D printing of martensitic steel using laser will produce defects in the form of pores in the material.
To solve this problem, the research team must start from the beginning and find a laser setting that can suppress such defects.
In the experiment, the team headed by Professor Ibrahim Karaman, head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, first used an existing mathematical model to predict the melting of single-layer martensitic steel powder under different laser settings. Then, by comparing the type and number of defects observed with the predicted value of the model, they improved the printing framework. After many iterations, their framework was able to make predictions more accurately. The researchers said that this method does not require additional experiments and saves time and effort.
Although the original process developed was for martensitic steel, researchers at Texas A&M said that they have made the technology versatile enough so that the same 3D printed pipe can also be used to build complex objects from other metals and alloys.
This is an important development for all types of metal additive manufacturing industries. Whether it is simple parts like screws, or more complex parts such as landing gears and gearboxes, or turbines, they will become more precise in the future. , To meet the needs of different industries.
This innovative prediction technology will shorten the time to evaluate and find suitable martensitic steel printing parameters. Raiyan Seede, a graduate student in the Faculty of Engineering and the lead author of the study, said: “Testing the possibilities of all laser settings and evaluating which ones may cause defects is very time-consuming, sometimes even impossible. By combining experiments and modeling, we A simple and quick step-by-step process was developed to determine which setting is best for 3D printing martensitic steel.”
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