3D Systems has partnered with the shipbuilding division of Huntington Ingalls Industries to develop Copper-Nickel (CuNi) and Nickel-Copper (NiCu) alloys for powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM).

According to the company, the new materials could allow the company to 3D print parts that are traditionally cast – reducing lead times by up to 75%.

CuNi and NiCu are corrosion-resistant, making them suitable for marine applications. However, while parts produced with these metals possess high strength and toughness over a variety of temperatures, they must currently be produced using traditional casting methods, the company said. This requires very long lead times up to a year and multiple suppliers. If these alloys could be formulated for use with metal 3D printing technologies, lead times for some of these parts could be reduced.

3D Systems says that the new alloys could be used to produce replacement parts for castings as well as valves, housings, and brackets. They may also be suitable for applications where corrosion is a major concern such as oil and gas production and refining, and utility energy production.

‘Over the past few years, our companies have collaborated to support the qualification of metal additive manufacturing technologies in order to build parts for naval warships and conducted research and development of a corrosion performance design guide for direct metal printing of a nickel-based alloy,’ said said Dave Bolcar, vice president at Newport News Shipbuilding, the division of Huntington Ingalls. ‘We’re looking forward to expanding on these efforts by developing parameters that will allow us to further expand the use of AM into our platforms, in order to improve both product quality, schedule, and performance for the fleet.’

This story uses material from 3D Systems, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.