QuesTek launches high-performance stainless steel optimised for Additive Manufacturing

June 24, 2020

QuesTek has developed an optimised 17-4 stainless steel variant that demonstrates excellent strength and corrosion properties in both the as-built and direct-aged condition (Courtesy Questek)

QuesTek Innovations LLC, Evanston, Illinois, USA, a developer of metal alloys and powders, has announced a new stainless steel composition for Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) Additive Manufacturing. Two variants of the new powder are available, QT 17-4  for use with a single low-temperature heat treatment, and QT 17-4+ for use in the as-built condition. 

The development of the powder was funded by the US Navy Small Business Innovation Research programme and, according to the company, the new powder allows for the production of complex, high-strength stainless steel parts by AM which are comparable to wrought 17-4 PH, without the need for expensive cryogenic processing or high-temperature heat treatment. 

The 17-4PH stainless steel commonly used in AM often requires higher-cost argon-atomised powder to be used to avoid retained austenite issues and the resulting poor properties; however, even the properties of argon-atomised 17-4PH fluctuate and are sensitive to the feedstock composition. The corrosion resistance and fatigue performance of the new alloy is said to be equivalent or improved over AM parts built using commercially available 17-4 stainless steel powders.

According to Dr Dana Frankel, QuesTek’s Manager of Design and Product Development, “With QuesTek’s QT 17-4 powders, a fully martensitic microstructure is achieved in the as-printed condition. The high-temperature solution heat treatment process required for conventional 17-4 is not needed for QuesTek’s alloys, and the resulting properties have less variation.”

The new 17-4 powders can be used in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, defence, medical, chemical processing and energy. Although QuesTek’s initial effort has focused on powder-based AM, it plans to demonstrate the new composition in one or more wire-based AM processes to enable larger component production at lower cost. QuesTek is reportedly in discussion with partners, including alloy producers, metal AM machine manufacturers and service bureaus, to license its technologies and accelerate commercial adoption.

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Separation anxiety: Lessons learned at NASA from a developmental rocket engine failure
  • What is 'good' metal AM? Exploring the industry's value metrics for production
  • An inside perspective on China’s thriving metal Additive Manufacturing industry
  • Additive Manufacturing for jewellery and watchmaking: Exploring the potential of sinter-based technologies
  • Metal Additive Manufacturing for digital dentistry: An introduction for dental professionals
  • Case study: The development of a multi-material heat sink by Additive Manufacturing using Aerosint technology

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Discover our magazine archive…

The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

Browse the archive

Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

  • AM machines
  • Process monitoring & calibration
  • Heat treatment & sintering
  • HIP systems & services
  • Pre- & post-processing technology
  • Powders, powder production and analysis
  • Part manufacturers
  • Consulting, training & market data
Download PDF
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap