Strongest ever 3D printed titanium alloy

Monash University engineers have created a titanium alloy, which they say has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than other 3D printed metals currently available.

A team led by professor Aijun Huang and Dr Yuman Zhu from Monash University, reportedly used 3D printing and heat treatment technology to manipulate a novel microstructure, improving its mechanical performance.

This research, published in Nature Materials, was undertaken on commercially available alloys and can be applied immediately, the university says.

“Titanium alloys require complex casting and thermomechanical processing to achieve the high strengths required for some critical applications,” said Professor Huang. “We have discovered that additive manufacturing (AM) can exploit its unique manufacturing process to create ultrastrong and thermally stable parts in commercial titanium alloys, which may be directly implemented in service.”

According to the professor, after carrying out post-heat treatment on a commercial titanium alloy, elongation and tensile strengths over 1,600 MPa were achieved.

“Our findings offer a completely new approach to precipitation strengthening in commercial alloys that can be utilised to produce real components with complex shape for load-bearing application,” he added. “This application is still absent for any titanium alloys to date.”