Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology MISIS, led by Professor Alexandr Gromov developed a method of 3D-printing of alumomatrix (aluminum-based) composite materials with ceramic fillers (aluminum oxide and nitride). The research was conducted in the framework of the project supported by the Russian Science Foundation. The use of additive technologies allowed increasing the strength of the resulting powder materials by 20%.
The annual growth rate of the global market of additive technologies exceeds 100%. This can be explained by the advantages of additive technologies for metals compared to traditional industrial technologies: casting, powder metallurgy etc. This includes the ability to create complex 3D-details, reduce the weight of the detail by optimizing the design, increase the strength of the details, as well as the technology for fast and situational production of small-scale details of complex shape. One of the most popular directions is the development of methods of 3D-aluminum printing for aerospace.
Source: NUST MISIS
In this case, the main task of material scientists is to reduce the detail weight while maintaining the strength characteristics. Nowadays, the metal primarily used in aircraft is titanium. It is a durable, corrosion- and load-resistant material, the only significant disadvantage of which is the high density, 5.4 g/mm. Lightweight and ductile aluminum at the same time has a density of 2.7 g/mm, that is, it is twice as light. However, it is far less strong than titanium. Scientists are actively looking for ways to strengthen aluminum.
The proposed methods allow increasing the flexibility of design, reducing the production time of functional prototypes, reducing the weight of the resulting details by 10-20 %.
Currently, the research team is completing a series of laboratory tests of the resulting batch of material. In the near future, the researchers will switch to the next step of the project, i.e. obtaining the first samples of details from this aluminum-ceramic powder.