3D Systems Releases Copper-Nickel Alloy for LPBF

September 20, 2022

3D-Systems-CuNi303D Systems has released CuNi30, a corrosion-resistant, copper-nickel alloy for use with its DMP Flex 350 metal 3D printer, with general availability expected this fall. This material resulted from the company’s collaboration with HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division to develop materials and process parameters for laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) additive manufacturing (AM). Development of CuNi30 allows Newport News Shipbuilding to use AM in place of its traditional casting technologies for low-volume, high-mix hardware needs, with an anticipated 75-percent reduction in lead times as well as lowered inventory costs. 

Copper-nickel alloys find extensive use in salt water, petroleum and acidic environments due to their corrosion resistance as well as antimicrobial and anti-algae properties that enable resistance to algae growth during extended exposure to water, report 3D Systems officials. CuNi30 is often used to manufacture pipe fittings and valves for the marine, offshore oil and gas, and chemical and nuclear industries. These alloys also possess stable mechanical, physical, and thermal properties, making them suitable for cryogenic applications. And, the officials continue, CuNi alloys historically are difficult to cast, often adding costly cycles of rework and reinspection to meet quality standards. HII, recognizing the potential to realize significant benefits if the DMP hardware, material and process could be qualified for their production components, partnered with 3D Systems on development.

“Earlier this year we completed a multi-year effort with 3D Systems related to the research and development of a Corrosion Performance Design Guide for Direct Metal Printing of a nickel-based alloy,” says Dave Bolcar, vice president of engineering and design for Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of HII. “We’re looking forward to continuing to expand our parameter development efforts with 3D Systems into other alloys of interest to our industry. These developments allow us to further expand the use of additive manufacturing into our platforms in ways that provide positive quality, schedule, and performance benefits to the customer.” 

Adds Dr. Michael Shepard, vice president, aerospace & defense segment, 3D Systems: “We’ve had a decades-long relationship with the U.S. Navy that has helped drive innovation for a variety of applications including aircraft parts and submersible components. Our latest project with Newport News Shipbuilding yielded a copper-nickel alloy specifically designed for AM that results in better part density and mechanical properties as compared to traditional casting.”

Industry-Related Terms: Additive manufacturing, Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), Powder bed
View Glossary of 3D Metal Printing Terms

 

See also: 3D Systems

Technologies: Metal Powders

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