QuesTek Innovations LLC, Evanston, Illinois, USA, is collaborating with the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt – DLR), Cologne, Germany, to explore the full potential of its new aluminium alloy, which was developed for Additive Manufacturing. Questek states that this alloy is capable of high-strength performance at elevated temperatures (200–300°C) in its as-built condition. It is believed to be the first powdered aluminium material to meet those requirements without the need for subsequent heat treatment.
The new high-temperature Al alloy for AM is one of a series which the company is developing under multiple US Navy-funded Small Business Innovation Research awards. It is expected to enable the Additive Manufacturing of lighter-weight precision components not currently producible using traditional manufacturing methods. Because of the high-temperature strength of components additively manufactured using QuesTek’s new alloy, the new material is also expected to make it possible to reduce weight in parts that must currently be made from titanium.
The new alloy was developed using QuesTek’s Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) technologies and Materials by Design® approach, which combines the company’s computational technology with an exclusive stage-gate design and development process. In an effort to explore the full potential the company’s new AI alloy, QuesTek will partner with the DLR to additively manufacture demonstration components for aeronautics and space applications and prepare a performance brief for European aerospace manufacturers.
Greg Olson, QuesTek’s Chief Science officer, stated, “The accelerated design and development of a printable aluminium alloy capable of meeting so many current needs is especially exciting, as it will enable concurrent design of material composition and component geometry. Based on our internal test results, we see broad application of this material in manufacturing components for aerospace, satellite, automotive and high-performance racing.”
“We are particularly pleased to be collaborating with the DLR,” he continued. “Their unrivalled reputation, expertise and close relationship with industry needs will bring an important new scope to our efforts.”
Heinz Voggenreiter, Director of the Institute of Materials Research for the DLR, commented, “For Additive Manufacturing to become a production technology with the capacity to produce components capable of performing in high-temperature, high-stress applications, new extraordinary printable alloys will be needed. The German Aerospace Center, with its decades of experience in the development of materials and structures for space and aeronautics, is an ideal cooperation partner for QuesTek to explore intended applications.”