Currently in additive manufacturing, traditional alloys developed for wrought material processes are being used to build components; however, these alloys were designed for completely different thermomechanical processes. There is an opportunity to develop alloys that are better suited to the thermal history and processing that occurs during laser-based additive manufacturing processes. By capitalizing on distinct characteristics of elements, researchers at CAVS are working toward the development of alloys tailored specifically for AM. The long term goal is to produce alloys that will speed the adoption of AM techniques and provide components that offer improved properties, better reliability, and less post-processing than currently available alloys. Process optimization efforts are also being leveraged to reduce the time needed to develop process parameters for both alloys developed in house and alloys provided by outside sponsors.
The AM lab at CAVS is well appointed with capabilities that allow for investigation and modification of chemical compositions. Our Renishaw AM400 is equipped with a reduced build volume kit that only requires small volumes of powder to build. This is particularly useful when using experimental powders that are not available in large quantities. Our Optomec LENS includes a dual powder feeder that facilitates alloys developed by varying concentrations of particular elements. Functionally graded materials can also be produced with this setup.