Alloys for Additive Manufacturing
Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a rapidly maturing technology capable of producing highly complex parts directly from a computer file and raw material powders. Its disruptive potential lies in its ability to manufacture customised products with individualisation, complexity and weight reduction for free. The purpose of this group is to understand the impact of this manufacturing process on the micro- and nanostructures of the employed alloys as well as to develop metallic materials suitable for and exploiting the unique characteristics of AM.
While Additive Manufacturing, and in particular Laser Additive Manufacturing (LAM), is by now fairly well-established as a process to produce metallic parts, the optimisation of existing alloys and the design of advanced alloys tailored specifically to LAM are still mostly missing. The established alloys currently in use do not exploit the enormous opportunities inherent in this technique at all, leaving a profound gap towards its further development. This heretofore completely untapped potential is the focus point of our research group.
We employ two approaches which can be summarized as "Alloys for AM" and "Alloys by AM".
- Alloys for AM: Many high-performance alloys cannot be used in AM because of their limited processability. One example is the strong susceptibility of gamma'-strenghtened Ni-base superalloys for hot cracking in AM. Making such alloys amenable to processing by AM, preferably by only changing the composition slightly, is the first research focus of our group. We also study the impact of AM processing on the microstructure and the properties of such alloys. This includes the powder atomization step, that can have unexpected and strong influences on final material performance, as well as post-(heat-)treatments.
- Alloys by AM: A particulary interesting research field are alloys that are only accessible due to the peculiar, powder-metallurgical and non-equilibrium characteristics of AM processing. This includes supersaturated solid solutions, suppression of unwanted phase precipitation, composite synthesis by AM and in-situ metal-gas reactions. We are exploring new materials that include added functionality such as e.g. improved processability in subsequent steps in a complex process chain.
The research group "Alloys for Additive Manufacturing" has beeen established in April 2015. All positions in the group are financed by competitively raised third-party funding. Funding agencies include the Max-Planck-Society / Fraunhofer-Society collaboration scheme, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the graduate school SurMat.