Warm thanks to Dr. Ankit Sharan from EOS who shared his thoughts with SecureAmerica partners today on the exciting developments in 3D-printable copper and nickel alloys and the work EOS is doing to expand their use. The increasing availability of 3D printable copper- and nickel-based alloys is a critical enabler to support space and hypersonics applications, which are two of the recently announced U.S. Defense Modernization Priorities.
The rapid privatization of the space industry is changing how aerospace components are made. The paradigm shift toward fully reusable launch vehicles has spurred investments in lighter, more robust components throughout the vehicle. In the case of rocket motors, this has been made possible through increased availability of printable alloys that offer combinations of high strength and extremes of thermal conductivity or resistance.
Coupled with the unmatched geometric flexibility offered by additive manufacturing, designers have created thin-walled copper-alloy structures and regenerative cooling to operate systems at temperatures exceeding the melting temperature of the copper. These components can also withstand increasingly high operating pressures through improved production methods, alloying, and bi-metallic structures. These and other rapid advances, driven by private investment and competition, are helping to increase payloads, decrease fuel consumption, and more efficiently use critical materials for spaceflight.
An even more demanding environment than space applications is that of hypersonics. Emerging threats have elevated hypersonics to a critical national security imperative which requires advanced designs and exotic materials capable of enduring incredible extremes of stress and temperature. EOS continues its development of printable refractory metals, including nickel, tungsten, molybdenum, and rhenium alloys, to support printing of components to operate in extreme temperature environments.
Though additive manufacturing offers advantages in terms of both design and material utilization for many applications, alloys that are typical for traditional manufacturing processes are often not suitable for 3D printing. In many cases, alloys that have been additively manufactured will exhibit different mechanical properties than traditionally manufactured components.
In other cases, alloys must be modified to make them more compatible with additive processes, which may not be allowable within the constraints of standardized compositions. In both cases, designers and regulatory bodies must have appropriate allowables data to help them appropriately align materials, processes, and applications.
In his presentation, Dr. Sharan briefly discusses the relationship between material development Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL), and the unique considerations of allowables data for 3D printed metal parts.
In cooperation with its partners, SecureAmerica is committed ensuring the competitiveness and resilience of the U.S. manufacturing supply chain by fostering linkages in technology, workforce development, economic, and policy across the national manufacturing community.