Scientists have come up with a quick way to 3D print metal. The particle velocity is about 600 m/s, which is higher than the speed of sound.
Researchers at Cornell University have developed 3D printing technology that creates cellular metal materials by mixing powder particles at supersonic speeds.
This technology is called “cold spray” and can produce strong and porous structures that are 40% stronger than similar materials made using conventional manufacturing processes. The small size and porosity of the structures make them suitable for the creation of biomedical components.
We focused on creating structures that can be applied in the fields of thermoregulation, energy absorption, and biomedicine. Instead of using only heat as an input or driving force for adhesion, we now use plastic deformation to adhere to the powder particles.
The researchers wanted to improve the existing technology and get rid of manufacturing problems. The most important of these is that in order to print metallic materials, they must be heated at high temperatures above their melting point. This can lead to the accumulation of residual stresses, deformation, and unwanted phase transformations.
To overcome these problems, scientists have developed a method using a compressed gas nozzle to bake titanium alloy particles. The particles ranged in diameter from 45 to 106 microns (microns is a millionth of a meter), and their speed was about 600 m / s, which exceeds the speed of sound. In the future, direct delivery of energy through a nozzle at a speed of the order of 10 m / s will make the method sixty times faster.