An advanced manufacturing course of to supply nanostructured rods and tubes immediately from excessive-efficiency aluminum alloy powder — in a single step — was not too long ago demonstrated by researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Utilizing a novel Solid Phase Processing strategy, the analysis team eradicated several steps which might be required throughout standard extrusion processing of aluminum alloy powders, whereas additionally reaching a significant improvement in product ductility (how far a cloth can stretch earlier than it breaks).
That is excellent news for sectors such as the automotive business, the place the excessive value of producing has traditionally restricted using high-strength aluminum alloys made out of powders.
High-performance aluminum alloys produced from powder have lengthy been utilized in light-weight parts for specialized aerospace functions; the place value is not a limiting issue. Nonetheless, these alloys have sometimes been too costly for the automotive business.
A typical extrusion course of for aluminum alloy powders is power-and process-intensive, requiring several steps to mass produce the fabric. First, the loose powder should be loaded right into a can, and gases eliminated utilizing a vacuum, which known as “degassing.” The can is then sealed, scorching pressed, pre-heated, and positioned into the extrusion press.
Extrusion of aluminum alloys immediately from powder elimates canning, degassing, sizzling isostatic urgent, de-canning, and billet pre-heating
Within the ShAPE™ course of, a powder — on this case, an Al-12.4TM aluminum alloy powder supplied by SCM Metal Products, Inc., a division of Kymera International — is poured into an open container. A rotating extrusion die is then compelled into the powder, which generates warmth on the interface between the powder and dies. The fabric softens and extrudes, eliminating the necessity for canning, degassing, scorching urgent, pre-heating, and decanning.
In addition to offering the Al-12.4TM powder, SCM Metals Merchandise, Inc. carried out mechanical testing to validate the ensuing materials’ efficiency. PNNL and SCM Steel Products, Inc. at the moment are collaborating on a challenge for DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions to scale up the method for bigger diameter extrusions.