BEAMIT develops AM process for light weight, high strength Ti6242

April 7, 2021

The microstructure of the Ti6242 titanium alloy (Courtesy The BEAMIT Group)

The BEAMIT Group, based in Fornovo di Taro, Italy, has developed an Additive Manufacturing process for the titanium alloy Ti6242. The company states that additively manufactured Ti6242 components, made for motorsport and aeronautical applications, perform better than alloys processed with conventional technologies.

“Our hard work is essentially geared towards positioning ourselves on a level where we can produce innovation and change the rules of the game technologically and for 3D-printing applications,” stated Andrea Scanavini, the group’s General Manager. “We are extremely focused on our clients’ needs and productivity and use our Material and Process Engineering division to respond with turnkey solutions for the next generation of production processes.”

What makes this alloy such an innovative material is its specific resistance to high temperatures; the alloy produced by AM has a tensile strength of up to 1,000 MPa and a density 4.5 g/cm3.

Although some materials used in the motorsport sector can achieve similar tensile strengths as Ti6242, they are said to be significantly heavier. The Ti6242 can be used for components such as exhausts, previously manufactured with nickel superalloys, in order to decrease weight without losing strength.

The composition of Ti6242 produced by AM is also said to be ideal for aeronautical components, where its use is slowly becoming more widespread – a natural move, as the original titanium alloys were developed to replace nickel superalloys in supersonic aircraft engines at the end of World War II.

Giuseppe Pisciuneri, Chief Commercial Officer, stated, “Researching and developing new materials has always been fundamentally important in the BEAMIT Group and we are very proud to currently be the only company capable of offering the market top-flight technological solutions, especially in sectors like motorsport, automotive and aerospace. Being pioneers of this innovation and using our materials in our clients’ new projects motivates us to keep growing and spurs us on to bigger and better things.”

At the beginning of this journey to produce optimised, additively manufacturable titanium alloys, BEAMIT performed an in-depth study to see which could be processed by Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB). Ti6242 produced the outright best performance. The aim then became the enhancement of the material’s mechanical properties at temperature.

“Development of the Ti6242 process began in 2019 as part of a thesis project in collaboration with Politecnico di Milano university” stated Alessandro Rizzi, Materials and Special Process Manager. “The material adapted perfectly to Laser Powder Bed Fusion, but our real focus was on the heat treatments. We devised different vacuum cycles to optimise its mechanical properties at room temperature and at high temperatures and also developed the integrated high-pressure heat treatment process.”

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