Honeywell Tests Alloyed’s High Temp Alloy for Aerospace Metal 3D Printing

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Honeywell, a leading aerospace manufacturer, has announced that it has performed an assessment of Alloyed’s new additive manufacturing (AM) material, the high-temperature alloy ABD 900AM, for use in aerospace applications.

Honeywell assessed the new metal in its in-house laser powder bed fusion (PBF) facilities, and have announced ‘extremely positive results’ with regards to its use in high temperature applications. The assessments covered the material’s suitability for manufacturing and its mechanical properties, and determined that it had great potential for high-temperature applications.

However, Honeywell deemed that ABD 900AM is not yet a replacement for traditional high-temperature materials made by casting, such as nickel-based super alloy CM Mar-247 or IN792, IN713, and IN738. The traditional materials fared better in terms of their oxidation capabilities, yet ABD 900 AM showed no part cracking in the ‘as-printed’ condition, nor any ‘post-weld’ cracking in post-processing and showed superior mechanical properties in tensile and low-fatigue cycle tests. The new material from Alloyed is said to provide high performance and long-term stability in working temperature ranges up to 900°C. As the released statement explains:

“The results of the work between Alloyed and Honeywell show that ABD 900AM is an alloy that demonstrates great potential for high temperature applications. The material welds and fuses extremely well, particularly when compared with other high temperature nickel alloys. While ABD 900AM is not a replacement for CM Mar-247 in most cases due to the oxidation capabilities, it does exhibit very good mechanical properties at high temperatures when compared with Mar 247 or IN792 or IN713 or IN738.”

These tests were performed in Honeywell’s metal AM testing and pilot production facility in Bangalore, India. The company opened three of these in 2014, in the US, India, and in the Czech Republic, and uses them to build parts prior to production, which are then sent onto suppliers to manufacture or collaborate in production.

ABD 900 AM part with cooling channels (Image courtesy of Alloyed)

The need for further developing AM materials for high-temperature applications—including in jet-propulsion systems, turbine discs, heat shields, heat exchangers, and engine components—is evident, as the current metal-AM processes have not performed well in this regard, to date. Honeywell explains:

“For such high temperature applications, the aerospace sector typically uses nickel (Ni) alloys such as IN738, IN713 and MarM247. However, these alloys are incompatible with welding techniques due to their chemistry, as they do not respond well to rapid thermal gradient changes and it is virtually impossible to control the amount of cracking during the weld process. Therefore, these alloys have historically been processed using casting methods where the cooling rates are relatively low.”

This is where the ABD 900 AM material shows potential. It demonstrates properties comparable to existing alloys in high-temperature applications, and can be manufactured with AM, providing all of the advantages of the AM design and production process, without the disadvantages of cracking. Currently, Alloyed offers nine different special alloys for aerospace applications using metal AM.

Alloyed’s Alloy-by-Design (ABD) platform (including Oxmet Technologies) and digital metal solutions have found increasing interest and applications this year, following the company’s funding round in January of this year, where it raised £10.7m (¥1.4bn) as equity. The announcement of its new alloy ABD 900 AM, drew the interest of Honeywell.

“After an initial introduction to Alloyed by a third party, Honeywell recognized the potential of the Alloys By Design (ABD) system brand developed by highly respected metallurgists from Oxford University and this stimulated further interest in the ABD 900AM material and its potential for high temperature aerospace applications as it was not prone to cracking. The result of this initial collaboration was a dedicated project that would see Honeywell build a limited number of test specimens in its additive manufacturing laboratory located in Bangalore, India. Honeywell would build and test the material to determine if the results merited continued investment and development.”

Rocket combustion chamber (Image courtesy of Alloyed)

It is worth noting that, for Alloyed, this follows recent announcements of collaboration with NTT XAM in Japan, to advance metal-AM in the Far East country, and with Germany-based Taniobis, a manufacturer of high performance tantalum and niobium powders, to develop titanium and refractory alloy powders for metal-am. Alloyed’s unique ABD computational software platform promises to advance the development of alloys like never before; and allows for the identification, optimization, and development of high-performance, custom alloys for use in metal-AM solutions across industries particularly in aerospace, automotive, energy, as well as biomedical alloys for medical (orthopedic).

In August this year, the company gained FAA certification for a flight-critical part, a bearing housing in the turbine engine, made using AM. Earlier in July this year, Honeywell had collaborated with SLM Solutions to develop new parameter sets for an aluminum alloy, F357, for use in the additive manufacturing of aerospace parts. The US-based company had worked to qualify new builds that used thicker layers, up to 90 µm, of the aluminum alloy in order to bring the material properties on par with comparable traditional die-cast aerospace parts. Honeywell had also worked previously to qualify Velo3D’s Sapphire metal 3D printing platform, at its facility in the US, for use in the manufacture of end-use parts in aerospace manufacturing.

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