Amorphous metals to be optimised for 3D printing
Technology firms Heraeus Amloy and Trumpf are collaborating on the 3D printing of amorphous metals, also known as metallic glasses. Their goal is to establish the printing of amorphous parts as a standard production method on the shop floor by improving process and cost efficiencies.
Amorphous metals are twice as strong as steel, yet significantly lighter and more elastic. They exhibit isotropic behavior, which means their material properties remain identical, regardless of the direction in which the 3D printer builds up the workpiece.
The 3D printing of amorphous metals will benefit parts that are subject to significant stresses and lightweight design in sectors such as aerospace and mechanical engineering. These materials are also an excellent choice for medical devices due to their biocompatibility.
‘3D printing of amorphous components in industry is still in its infancy,’ said Jürgen Wachter, head of the Heraeus Amloy business unit. ‘This new collaboration will help us speed up printing processes and improve surface quality, ultimately cutting costs for customers. This will make the technology more suitable for a wider range of applications, some of which will be completely new.’
An expansion sleeve 3D printed using amporphous metals. (Image: Haraeus Amloy)
Heraeus Amloy has optimised its amorphous alloys for 3D printing and tailored the material for use with Trumpf’s TruPrint systems. The latest-generation TruPrint 2000 is designed in such a way that excess powder can be prepared in an inert gas environment for the subsequent building process. This protects the powder from any adverse influences, which is a key benefit for amorphous metals, as they react so quickly with oxygen.
Customers that already have a Trumpf 3D printer can now use it to process zirconium-based alloys from Heraeus Amloy. The two partners are also hoping to make copper- and titanium-based alloys available for 3D printing in the future.