Metal powders – the raw materials

Metal powders – the raw materials

List of common metal materials

The variety of materials available for metal AM systems is continuously expanding. Common materials used are stainless steels, aluminium, nickel, cobalt-chrome and titanium alloys, with a number of machine manufacturers offering their own materials.

The most common materials for laser melting processes are shown in the table opposite. The material trade names vary depending on the manufacturer, therefore the name used here corresponds to the specifications on the material data sheets and in some cases the European nomination is given.

There are some efforts in standardisation of the processes and the materials, an important step for a better comparison between products and a faster introduction to existing process chains.

This wide variety of materials offers the user a good possibility of choosing the right material to achieve the specifications of the product.

Research institutes, universities and system manufacturers also offer individual materials for the customer.

Not all materials can be used in Additive Manufacturing, but in many cases and with the proper equipment the qualification of an available metal powder for a specific purpose can be done.

 

Specifying metal powders

The common specifications of metal powders suitable for AM are the spherical geometry of the particles resulting from the gas atomisation and a particle size distribution according to the layer thickness, usually between 10-50 µm.

Material properties such as tensile strength, hardness and elongation, are important and often used as reference points for the decision about the right material. The figure below illustrates some different alloys in an extensive range of yield strengths. This diagram can help the user to pick the appropriate material depending on two mechanical characteristics. The values for the yield strength have been taken from the manufacturer’s data sheets and represent the minimum measured values.

 

Mechanical-properties-of-me

Mechanical properties of metallic materials – minimum values from data sheets

 

 

> Next page: Secondary finishing processes

Download the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Our latest issue is now available to view online or download in PDF format.

As well as an extensive AM industry news section, this 184-page issue includes articles and reports on:

  • Cheaper powders, faster build speeds and no thermal stresses? How AM is going supersonic at SPEE3D
  • Current perspectives on metal AM: Hype, volume manufacturing and the geographies of production
  • AM Ventures: An insider’s perspective on venture capital for start-ups in Additive Manufacturing
  • Binder Jetting and beyond: Optimising the use of metal powders for Additive Manufacturing
  • From lightweighting and material efficiency to energy consumption: Where are we on AM’s sustainability journey?
  • AM’s industrial impact celebrated as Sweden hosts ASMET’s fourth Metal Additive Manufacturing Conference
  • Euro PM2019: Effects of humidity and storage conditions on Additive Manufacturing powder quality
  • > More information

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