Making Magnetic Materials at University of Pittsburgh: Binder Jet 3D Printing vs Laser Metal Deposition
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh explore the ever-expanding world of benefits via 3D printing, detailing their work in the recently published ‘Additive Manufacturing: Opportunities and Challenges for Functional Magnetic Materials.’
While the manufacturing realm is undoubtedly undergoing a transformation, there are still numerous challenges to be overcome regarding 3D printers, 3D printing software, and a wide range of materials, from thermoplastics to metal, and beyond.
Manufacturing with magnetic materials is not unheard of—from printing with composites to magnetic blocks and other innovations—yet as the researchers point out in their research, AM of magnetic shape memory and magnetocaloric materials ‘has yet to be developed as a manufacturing option,’ despite the potential for use in so many different applications.
For this study, the authors experimented with binder jet 3D printing (BJ3DP) and laser metal deposition (LMD). Crushed and ball-milled powder was used in the form of melt-spun ribbon (Ni-Mn-Co-Sn), polycrystalline ingots (Ni-Mn-Ga, Ni-Mn-Cu-Ga) and single crystals (Ni-MnGa).
The researchers sieved it for their purposes in the research study, manipulating the sizes for the best printing with BJ3DP (using an ExOne Lab system) and LMD (using an Optemec LENS® 450 LMD system). Samples were fabricated and then held up in comparison to homogenized counterparts.
While the researchers enjoyed the benefit of being able to use several different powders, along with in-situ parameter tuning permitting gradient structures, there were also challenges in using the LMD technique:
“Gradient structures are desired in some applications, but variation of structure and properties within parts might be a challenge. The irregularly-shaped ball-milled powder is easily produced but shows inconsistent flow rates through the powder feeders and, therefore, inconsistent built shapes, unlike ideal spherical powder,” explained the researchers.
In experimenting with BJ3DP, the researchers noted that bulk density could be varied as they manipulated the parameters; however, there was an issue with shrinkage.
“Though structural applications require high density, functional magnetic materials can benefit from porosity. By not melting the powder during printing the original composition of the powder remains intact, and residual thermal stresses are not developed,” explained the authors.
Overall use of BJ3DP revealed challenge not only with shrinkage but also binder and powder effects, with droplets being deposited onto the bed in a variety of ways depending on the powder—and the size of the droplets.
“While many challenges exist for each AM method discussed and not discussed here, there are also many advantages,” concluded the researchers.
“Depending on the AM method, increased complexity in shape, the ability to design and target constant and gradient composition and properties and designed bi-modal porosity are a few of the new possibilities available. These benefits present the potential of expanding functional magnetic materials to new, currently impossible applications.”
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.[Source / Images: ‘Additive Manufacturing: Opportunities and Challenges for Functional Magnetic Materials’]
You May Also Like
3D Printing for COVID-19, Part Three: Open Source Ventilators
Since the initial news flurry about how a network of Italian 3D printing users came to the rescue of a hospital on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak in...
3D Printing for COVID-19, Part Four: Corporate Partners
As small 3D printing businesses and individual users jump at a chance to support efforts to manufacture critically needed medical supplies, larger corporations also see opportunities to lend aid. Among...
3D Printing COVID-19: First Do No Harm
We must be mindful that just because we can make a design that this design is not necessarily the right one. While I’m buoyed by the 3D printing industry’s efforts...
An Editorial About Face
Around five weeks ago I made a decision for us to not write at all about Covid-19/Corona Virus. I had seen the fear on the sunken faces of friends and...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.