Aluminum alloys have become widely utilized in aerospace and automobile fields due to their superior strength-to-weight ratio, machinability and corrosion resistance. Unfortunately, however, their properties may not meet all high stress applications that demand hardness equivalent to that of soft steels.
PNNL aluminum powders have been specially developed to enhance the quality of parts created through additive manufacturing processes like Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) and Directed Energy Deposition (DED). Their improved morphology allows for higher density printing.
Aluminum Alloy Powder offer greater strength and durability than pure aluminum, enabling designers to craft parts that can better withstand heavy loads. This feature is especially valuable in applications where repeated loading forces fall below its yield point, such as aircraft or motor vehicles.
Aluminum alloys with other metals provide stronger materials. One such aluminum alloy, type 7075, is often utilized in aircraft and motor vehicle applications.
Aluminum alloy is known for its low cost, excellent corrosion resistance, and fatigue strength properties, making it suitable for consumer and industrial products alike. Common applications for it include cooking utensils, water heaters, radiators and air conditioning condensers. Furthermore, heat exchangers and associated piping systems often utilize this material too.
Aluminum is an extremely light metal, yet strong and resilient. Its lightweight properties make it easy to transport, while its weather resistance make it suitable for use in outdoor furniture and other products.
Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have devised an innovative manufacturing process that produces rods and tubes directly from high-performance aluminum alloy powders in one step, eliminating multiple steps typically involved in extrusion processing while increasing product ductility significantly.
These innovations can reduce costs by making it easier to downgauge and lighten components, or by decreasing the need for expensive elements in alloy production. They may also enhance performance by increasing strength and corrosion resistance – meaning high-performance aluminum alloys can be produced using similar production processes as lower cost metals.
Aluminum powder has become widely utilized across industries for its exceptional strength and corrosion resistance, serving as component heat sinks in electronics, automotive, and aerospace applications.
Corrosion is a natural process in which metal surfaces oxidise and bond with oxygen molecules, eventually producing a hard, white-coloured skin on their surfaces. Corrosion is less destructive than rusting which occurs when iron binds with oxygen molecules and breaks down over time.
To accurately evaluate the performance of aluminum alloy powders, we conducted performance evaluations using specimens produced using nano- and microcrystalline AA2124 sinters produced using Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) and Hot Pressing (HP). After exposure they underwent accelerated corrosion tests in neutral salt spray test chamber. Following their exposure they were checked for mass loss, Acoustic Emission (AE), and Tensile test results before inspection after exposure.
Aluminum extrusions are extremely flexible, enabling designers to form various shapes. Their adaptability has made them popular for use in applications spanning automotive, construction, exercise and sports equipment and general machinery applications.
Researchers from PNNL have developed a way to extrude aluminum alloy directly from powder in one step, eliminating multiple steps involved with conventional extrusion production processes such as canning, degassing and hot isostatic pressing.
Strengthened products also create stronger products, with greater tolerances for complex geometries and tighter diameters. This is particularly advantageous in aluminum additive manufacturing (AM), where smaller, more accurate machines produce higher-quality prints and reduce overall print time.
Powder coating aluminum alloys combines their best qualities to produce highly functional metal products, such as patio furniture. Powder-coated aluminum patio chairs look great while still resisting weather-related corrosion and rusting, making this solution extremely functional and long-term.
Powder coating involves the application of a free-flowing flour-like powder onto an electrically grounded aluminum 3d printing surface. This requires pre-treatments and chemical applications including power washing to remove aluminum oxide layers and create an ideal surface upon which to bond the coating.
Powder coatings are applied in an oven and then heated, creating a tough and durable skin resistant to scratches, cracking, peeling, UV rays and corrosion. Damaged powder-coated aluminum surfaces may be repaired using color-matched liquid paint touch ups.