AddUp Inc, headquartered in Cébazat, France, has approved Constellium’s Aheadd CP1 alloy for use in its AddUp FormUp® 350. This aluminum alloy was developed specifically for high-performance and lightweight applications in Additive Manufacturing using Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB).
The Aheadd CP alloy serves as an alternative to traditional grades such as AS7 and AS10 (alloys of aluminium, silicon and magnesium, originally created for the foundry industry). Constellium, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, provides an aluminium-iron-zirconium alloy that is said to offer better solderability, allowing for increased laser power and scan speed, resulting in improved productivity.
“To obtain the best mechanical properties using AS7 and AS10 grades, several long and expensive post-build treatments must be carried out, such as Hot Isostatic Pressing and, solution and aging etc,” explained Frédéric Sar, Materials Officer at AddUp. “With Aheadd CP1, very similar material properties can be achieved with a simple heat treatment at 400°C.”
Saving time and money on post-build operations, which represent up to 40-50% of the cost of PBF-LB parts, can significantly improve the profitability of an application.
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The mechanical properties of parts manufactured by AddUp using Aheadd CP1 (particle size 20-63 μm) are similar to those of AS7 in terms of hardness. They are at least equal in fatigue resistance and higher in ductility. Additionally, these parts can be subjected to anodising treatments to enhance their corrosion resistance.
The higher thermal conductivity of Aheadd CP1 compared to traditional aluminium alloys makes Constellium’s alloy a more suitable candidate for all heat exchanger applications. This alloy remains stable up to 250°C without degrading its microstructure. Thus, parts made from this material can withstand higher temperatures than those made from AS7, paving the way for lightweight applications in the aerospace industry.
All of these characteristics make Aheadd CP1 a potential alternative for AS7 and AS10 alloys for Additive Manufacturing. The material was recently approved in the field of motorsports. Combining this material with the performance of the AddUp FormUp 350 machine increases productivity without compromising part quality. This material could quickly gain significant interest in many other industrial sectors, including aeronautics and aerospace.