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Cold Spray

Cold Spray Forming for Additive Manufacturing

TWI has been developing cold spray technologies since 2003 and has invested considerable resource in exploring its potential as a method of additive manufacturing (AM).

We have a team of 12 materials and process engineering staff dedicated to cold spray and thermal spray research, development and technology transfer to industry. In 2015 we commissioned a sizeable new thermal spraying facility, equipped with a latest-generation cold spray system (view PDF factsheet).

This multidisciplinary expertise and equipment means we are uniquely positioned to help you exploit cold spray as a method of AM, whether in tandem with other AM techniques, or on its own as a way of repairing or changing the surface properties of existing components.

What is cold spray additive manufacturing?

Cold spray is the deposition of powder material onto a substrate using pressurised gas, usually at supersonic speeds. The gas used, primarily nitrogen or helium, is at high pressure and temperature – up to 70bar and 1100°C.

The ‘cold’ part of name of the process refers to the fact that the powders used are not melted; instead, the very high velocity causes the powder to plasticise on impact, forming a solid-state metallurgical bond with the substrate.

Cold spray forming has a much larger ’spot size’ than other powder-fed AM techniques, at around 4mm. It is therefore best suited for the addition of near-net-shape features onto components, such as bosses or lugs onto shafts, rather than forming intricate shapes based on CAD models.

Benefits of cold spray additive manufacturing

TWI’s cold spray AM services can reduce your costs and lead times compared to conventional manufacturing methods in a number of ways:

  • Eliminate the need to consider the effect of a heat-affected zone (HAZ) on the substrate properties
  • Eliminate the need to use a protective atmosphere when forming aluminium or titanium alloys 
  • Reduce material wastage by improving material utilisation ratio (buy-to-fly) and machining from near-net-shape parts, not large billets
  • Manufacture or repair small numbers of legacy and spare parts cost-effectively
  • Optimise materials and use graded or dissimilar materials within a single component to tailor performance

We can adapt the process for your needs, prioritising either deposition rate and thickness, or deposit density, depending on the application.

Where can cold spray additive manufacturing be used?

Cold spray is an effective way of making repairs and modifications to components. It can quickly transform the surface properties of a part or add new features.

Contact us to find out how we can use this technology to help your business.