3-D Printing Method Increases Steel Strength, Ductility


A team of researchers based out of a U.K. university says it has identified a method of 3-D printing that creates stronger, more ductile stainless-steel parts than other printing methods have proven capable of creating.

The group of scientists at the University of Birmingham, led by Leifeng Liu, says the research shows that 3-D printing is capable of producing metal structures with properties that were previously thought to be inaccessible via the increasingly popular manufacturing process.

Liu’s research, published in Materials Today, shows that selective laser melting produces a stronger, more ductile stainless steel than traditional 3-D printing. In the course of this process, the metal is cooled in an ultrafast manner, resulting in what the scientists say is a sub-micro-sized dislocation network that increases the metal’s strength and ductile quality.

Of particular interest is the fact that both strength and ductility are increased via the 3-D printing method, Liu explained, as most methods of strengthening metals reduce ductility. “Strength and ductility are natural enemies of one another,” he said.

The Implications

The discovery “paves the way for developing high performance metals by tailoring the microstructure through additive manufacturing,” another name for 3-D printing, the authors say.

"This work gives researchers a brand new tool to design new alloy systems with ultra-mechanical properties,” Liu said. “It also helps metal 3-D printing to gain access into the field where high mechanical properties are required like structural parts in aerospace and automotive industry."

Liu, who previously worked on the research at Stockholm University and China’s Zhejiang University, was joined on the project by others including Yu-Lung Chiu, Ji Zou and Jing Wu. All are faculty at Birmingham’s School of Metallurgy and Materials.


Tagged categories: 3D Printing; Asia Pacific; Colleges and Universities; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management; Research; Research and development; Stainless steel; Technology; Z-Continents

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