Japan’s Tanaka Holdings Co Ltd, has announced that its subsidiary Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo KK, which operates the Tanaka Precious Metals Group’s manufacturing business, has succeeded in the development and formation of platinum-based metallic glass powder for use in Selective Laser Sintering machines. The company also reported success in developing platinum based metallic powder using nickel-based alloys with platinum and iridium additives.
Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo obtained a patent for the composition of platinum-based metallic glass back in 2004, and with this latest development the company claims to be the first in the world to produce platinum-based metallic glass powder that can be used in existing Selective Laser Sintering machines.
Metallic glass is a type of amorphous metal that does not have a crystalline structure like ordinary metals. It is widely known for its high strength and hardness, low flexibility, ultra-high corrosion resistance and smooth surface finish. The most common method of manufacturing metallic glass at present is casting, which requires an expensive metal cast with high thermal conductivity due to the required rapid cooling.
The Additive Manufacturing method, using a selective laser sintering machine and the recently developed platinum powder material, involves the forming of objects using a laser beam to irradiate each layer (approximately 60 micrometers) of powder material from the top, enabling the surface of each layer to cool quickly while being formed. Additive Manufacturing of platinum based metallic glass is expected to be used in further practical applications in the future due to the ability to use it to form complex shapes.
Joint research was conducted with the Technology Research Institute of Osaka Prefecture, resulting in the successful manufacture of objects made of platinum, platinum-based metallic glass and nickel-based alloy with iridium additive.
This development is expected to lead to small scale production of a diverse range of products requiring corrosion resistance such as medical materials, and the expansion into industrial products with specialised components in areas requiring heat resistance such as the automotive industry and the aerospace industry.