3D printing metal powders


Introducing 3D Printing Powders and Applications

3D printing (3D Printing), also known as additive manufacturing, emerged in the 1990s, it is a computer software to establish a three-dimensional model, and ultimately layer by layer superimposed on the discrete material (powder, filament) processing and shaping technology. 3D printing technology from the printing consumables, mainly divided into polymer 3D printing, metal and alloy 3D printing, ceramic 3D printing, etc., and among them, metal and alloy powder material 3D printing is the most promising. In this, metal and alloy powder material 3D printing is the most potential. At present, there are also more types of metal powder materials for 3D printing, mainly including stainless steel, die steel, nickel alloy, titanium alloy, cobalt-chromium alloy, aluminium alloy and bronze alloy, etc., and they play different roles in different fields. For example, ferro-based alloys (stainless steel for 3D printing) are mostly used for the forming of complex structures, which have high strength, excellent high temperature resistance, wear resistance and corrosion resistance, and other physical, chemical and mechanical properties, mainly used in the aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding, machinery manufacturing and other industries; titanium alloys have excellent strength and toughness, combined with corrosion resistance, low specific gravity and biocompatibility is excellent, etc., in the aerospace and automotive races as well as the medical implant applications; cobalt chromium alloy has good biocompatibility and is commonly used in surgical implants; aluminium alloy is mainly characterized by low density and high specific strength.

The following will introduce 10 commonly used 3D printing metal powders and their wide application areas.

1. Stainless steel powder:

Stainless steel powder consists of elements such as iron, nickel and chromium and has excellent corrosion resistance and mechanical properties. The powder is widely used in the automotive, aerospace and medical device industries to manufacture strong, corrosion-resistant parts.

2. Titanium alloy powder:

Titanium alloy powder has excellent strength and lightweight properties and is used in the manufacture of aerospace, medical implants and high performance sports equipment. These powders are made by alloying pure titanium with other metallic elements such as aluminium and vanadium.

3. Aluminium Alloy Powder:

Aluminium alloy powder is made by alloying aluminium with other metal elements (e.g. copper, magnesium, etc.) and has high strength, good thermal conductivity and corrosion resistance. It is widely used in automotive manufacturing, aerospace and marine industries.

4. Nickel alloy powder:

Nickel alloy powder is made by alloying nickel with other alloying elements such as molybdenum, chromium, etc. It has excellent high temperature, corrosion and wear resistance. This powder is widely used in the fields of aviation engines, chemical equipment and petroleum industry.

5. Copper alloy powder:

Copper alloy powder is composed of copper and other metal elements (such as tin, zinc, etc.), with good electrical conductivity and mechanical properties. Therefore, it is widely used in electronic devices, electrical connectors and craft products and other fields.

6. Ferro Alloy powder:

Ferro Alloy powder is used to manufacture high-strength, wear-resistant parts, such as automotive parts and mechanical components.

7. High-temperature alloy powder:

High-temperature alloy powder is a material consisting of multiple elements with relatively uniform composition. Due to their unique atomic structure and non-solidified form, high entropy alloys have excellent mechanical properties, corrosion resistance and high temperature stability. Application areas include the manufacture of components for high temperature and corrosive environments in aerospace, energy and chemical industries.

8. Tungsten alloy powder:

Tungsten alloy powders are used in the manufacture of high-temperature tools and electrodes for a wide range of applications, including aerospace, electric lighting and electronics industries.

9. Tin alloy powder:

Tin alloy powders are used in the manufacture of soldering materials and electronic assemblies with good solderability and corrosion resistance.

10. Silver alloy powder:

Silver alloy powders are widely used in electronics, conductive bonding, and medical devices because of good conductivity and corrosion resistance.

The following will introduce 10 commonly used 3D printing metal powders and their wide application areas.

The basic requirements of 3D printing metal powder

Metal powder is the raw material for metal 3D printing process, which is directly used in the production research of metal 3D printing technology. The performance depends largely on the final effect of the shape. For this reason, high-quality powder is critical to the development of metal 3D printing technology, describing the 3D printing metal powder characteristics of the region there are three.

1. Chemical composition. The chemical composition of metal powders for 3D printing includes both major metal elements and complex elements. The most common elements include iron, titanium, nickel, aluminium, copper, cobalt, chromium, and silver and gold. Complexity affects the quality of the base metal, the presence of mixed elements can lead to uneven mixing of powders and errors within the finished part, and mechanical mixing can have a particularly detrimental effect on the strength of the part. The distribution and shape of the non-metallic mix has a different effect on the resulting part. High precious metal temperatures with high oxygen content not only affect part performance, but also lead directly to spherical shapes, which reduce density and part quality. For this reason, it is necessary to strictly control the various components and powder assembly to ensure the quality of the parts.

2. The shape, size and distribution of particles. Common forms of powder include spherical, near-spherical, flaky, dendritic, and so on. Irregular powders are larger than the surface, which can absorb more laser energy and improve combustion performance. In addition, the pores promote fluid transfer. However, due to the high flowability of spherical shape, smooth powder delivery, and uniform distribution of powder, the density and structural uniformity of parts can be improved to ensure the moulding quality. Therefore, the powder used for 3D printing is usually spherical or nearly spherical.

3. Powder technology requirements. The technical characteristics of the powder include loose loading, vibration density, mobility and recycling performance. Loose loading density is the density of spontaneous accumulation of powder, and the vibration density is the density after oscillation. Powder mobility is one of the main characteristics of powders. Powder mobility directly affects the consistency of the powder in the SLM process and the stability of the powder in the feeding process.

The production method of 3D printing metal powder

Metal 3D printing powder preparation techniques include gas atomisation (GA), plasma rotating electrode method (PREP), plasma atomisation (PA) and filament explosion method, etc., of which the gas atomisation method can be further divided into vacuum induction melting atomisation (VIGA) with crucible and electrode induction melting gas atomisation (EIGA) without crucible. Different powder making technologies are applicable to different types of powders, corresponding to different powder yields, and each has its own unique use scenarios.

In summary, powder preparation technology for metal 3D printing still has a lot of room for development, and it is necessary to strengthen the basic research of powder preparation technology. Different 3D printing metal powders play an important role in the manufacturing industry, meeting the needs of various industries for high performance, lightweight and corrosion resistance. With the continuous development and innovation of 3D printing technology, it is foreseeable that more kinds of metal powders will be developed and applied to further promote the innovation and development of the manufacturing industry.

Post time: Apr-03-2024