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Experts at HRL Laboratories in the United States have made a recent breakthrough in metallurgy. They announced that staff had developed a technique for successfully 3D printing high-strength aluminium alloys.

So, what’s so good about this news?

Well, in answer to the question over this development, it essentially paves the way to the additive manufacturing of engineering-relevant alloys. These alloys are very desirable for aircraft and automobile parts and have been among thousands that were not amenable to additive manufacturing—3D printing is now potentially a solution provided by the HRL researchers. An added benefit is that their method can be applied to additional alloy families such as high-strength steels and nickel-based superalloys difficult to process currently in additive manufacturing. This means that there’s the possibility it can be transferred to the steel fabrication sector.

“We’re using a 70-year-old nucleation theory to solve a 100-year-old problem with a 21st century machine,” said Hunter Martin, who co-led the team with Brennan Yahata.

“Our first goal was figuring out how to eliminate the hot cracking altogether. We sought to control microstructure, and the solution should be something that naturally happens with the way this material solidifies,” Martin said.

“Using informatics was key,” said Yahata. “The way metallurgy used to be done was by farming the periodic table for alloying elements and testing mostly with trial and error. The point of using informatics software was to do a selective approach to the nucleation theory we knew to find the materials with the exact properties we needed. Once we told them what to look for, their big data analysis narrowed the field of available materials from hundreds of thousands to a select few. We went from a haystack to a handful of possible needles.”Watch the video on the breakthrough, here: httpss://

The team here at ANY Weld will be waiting with great anticipation to see the potential that this progression has for us and businesses like us.

Video courtesy of HRL Laboratories, LLC/YouTube.