Free Form Low Cost Fabrication Using Titanium
MONTANA TECH OF THE UNIV OF MONTANA BUTTE CENTER FOR ADVANCED MINERAL AND METALLURGICAL PROCESSING
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The Army weapons systems of the future will require improvements in transportability, maneuverability, and durability. These improvements can be realized through changes in materials of construction. Titanium-based alloys exhibit the exceptionally favorable strength-to-weight ratio, low density, as well as, superior resistance to erosion and impingement attack. It also displays outstanding resistance to a broad range of acids, alkalis, industrial chemicals, natural waters, and marine atmospheres. The current high costs associated with titanium-based alloys remain the main obstacle for widespread use as a material of construction. Although relatively high costs originate in the extraction and refining for the titanium based metal, the highest expenditures can be found in the fabrication of components. Free form fabrication is a growing technology that can be applied to weapons systems manufacturing. This technology utilizes digital information derived from 3D CAD data or data from 3D digitizing systems. Specialized software converts the 3D data into layered 2D data. This layered data is used by a variety of processes that join liquid, powder, or sheet materials to form parts comprised of plastic, metal, ceramic, or composite parts, in a layer upon layer manner. CAMPMontana Tech has acquired a ProMetal R2, a three-dimensional printing machine, from The Ex One Company of Irwin, Pennsylvania. Titanium-based component fabrication with a three-dimensional printing machine, using of metals powders, and the layer-by-layer methodology, will result in a near-net shape component. For titanium components, the parts will then be subjected to a low-temperature binder removal followed by a high-temperature vacuum furnace sintering and completed by a hot isostatically press furnace stage. The process holds promise to reduce the fabrication costs for titanium components. This method is a more economical titanium fabrication technique when compared to current casting methods.
- Fabrication Metallurgy
- Computer Programming and Software