Better Than Casting, No Cracking
When Alloyed, a UK-based digital design and manufacturing company, offered their high-temperature alloy ABD 900AM for aerospace applications, Honeywell decided to take notice. Honeywell is a leading aerospace manufacturer in Phoenix, Arizona that assessed the new alloy’s suitability for manufacturing and its mechanical properties, and determined that it had great potential for high-temperature applications. Even though that ABD 900AM could not yet be considered to replace traditional high-temperature materials made by casting, as traditional materials had better oxidation capabilities, the new alloy had other advantages.
ABD 900AM, in its ‘as printed’ and ‘post-weld’ conditions, showed no part cracking, and exhibited superior mechanical properties in tensile and low-fatigue cycle tests. It provides high performance and long-term stability in working temperature ranges up to 900°C. It welds and fuses extremely well, particularly when compared with other high-temperature nickel alloys.
Currently available metal additive manufacturing processes have not yet performed as well. So there is a need to be met and Alloyed seems to be at the forefront. For the aerospace industry, high- temperature applications are found in jet-propulsion systems, turbine discs, heat shields, heat exchangers, and engine components. It typically uses nickel (Ni) alloys such as IN738, IN713 and MarM247. However, due to their chemistry, these alloys are incompatible with welding techniques. They do not respond well to rapid thermal gradient changes and it is virtually impossible to control the amount of cracking during welding. Hence, casting with low cooling is used generally.
Honeywell was not the only aerospace firm that looked into Alloyed’s processes. There were also collaborations with NTT XAM in Japan, to advance metal-AM in that country, and with Germany-based Taniobis, a manufacturer of high performance tantalum and niobium powders, to develop titanium and refractory alloy powders for metal-am. Alloyed also offers nine different special alloys for aerospace applications using metal AM. This year, Alloyed’s Alloy-by-Design (ABD) platform and digital metal solutions had funding that raised £10.7million as equity.
The development of alloys in a new direction is set in motion by Alloyed’s unique ABD computational software platform. It allows for the identification, optimization, and development of high-performance, custom alloys for use in metal-AM solutions across industries and not just in aerospace, but also in automotive, energy, and biomedical.