For millennia, metallurgists have been meticulously tweaking the ingredients of steel to enhance its properties. In consequence, several variants of steel exist today; however, one type, known as martensitic metal, stands out from its steel cousins as stronger and more cost-effective to produce. Therefore, martensitic steels naturally lend themselves to applications in the aerospace, automotive, and protection industries, among others, where high-strength, light-weight elements have to be manufactured without boosting the cost.
Nevertheless, for these and other functions, the metals should be built into complex structures with minimal loss of strength and sturdiness. Researchers from Texas A&M University, in partnership with scientists in the Air Force Research Laboratory, have now developed tips that enable 3-D printing of martensitic steels into very sturdy, defect-free objects of nearly any shape.
Though the process developed was initially for martensitic steels, researchers from the Texas A&M stated they’ve laid out their guidelines general enough so that the identical 3-D printing pipeline can be used to construct intricate objects from other metals and alloys as effectively.
The findings of the research have been featured in the December issue of the journal Acta Materialia.
Steels are manufactured from iron and a small quantity of different elements, along with carbon. Martensite steels are formed when steels are heated to extraordinarily high temperatures and then rapidly cooled.