TWI has many decades of experience working with materials used by every industry sector, allowing us to identify exactly the right material for your additive manufacturing (AM) application.
Additive manufacturing can be performed with virtually any metal, but the most commonly used include aluminium, titanium alloys, stainless steel, nickel and cobalt-chrome. Each material brings its own challenges.
Our deep understanding of material properties means we can work with you to select the optimal material for your project – and that we can anticipate any issues that may arise.
Our team of in-house materials, metallurgical, structural and corrosion engineers can support your AM activities at every stage of the process – from design and build, to post-build treatment and inspection.
Material considerations for AM
Areas in which our materials expertise can benefit your AM activities include the following.
Powder metallurgy and alloy design
In powder-based AM processes such as laser metal deposition, it is crucial to understand each consumable’s unique characteristics. For example, the microstructure of alloys may be affected by the powder manufacturing process, which may in turn require adjustments to the powder chemical composition.
Our specialists are experienced in working with metallic, carbide and oxide-containing powder, and can advise on the specification, selection and use of powder consumables.
Post-deposition heat treatment
Each AM process creates a unique metallurgical structure, requiring a specific heat treatment to obtain the desired final component properties.
Our team of metallurgists can advise on the best approach for every alloy commonly used for AM, including carbon-manganese and low-alloy steels, stainless steels, duplex and super duplex stainless steels, nickel based alloys (including superalloys), aluminium alloys, titanium alloys and cobalt-based alloys (including Stellite® and Tribaloy®).
Distortion control and residual stress management
Understanding residual stress states and development during the build of AM parts is essential to ensure safety and durability. Our team of numerical modelling specialists can provide invaluable insights for effective residual stress management – visit the simulation and design page to find out how.
Once an AM part has been fabricated, our materials scientists and engineers can provide comprehensive characterisation using methods including the following:
- Residual stress measurement
- Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio
- Digital image correlation
- Hardness testing
- Corrosion testing
To find out more, contact us.