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Development of the complete workflow for producing and using a novel nanomodified Ti-based alloy for additive manufacturing in special applications.

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - NANOTUN3D (Development of the complete workflow for producing and using a novel nanomodified Ti-based alloy for additive manufacturing in special applications.)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-09-30

The use of nanoparticles (NPs) in 3D printing is progressing rapidly, and polymeric materials have benefited from the addition of carbon nanotubes, graphene, etc., to improve mechanical properties and to sport additional features such as a certain degree of conductivity. However, structural parts with key responsibilities and strict operating conditions (fatigue life, high temperature behaviour, damping, dimensional accuracy, etc.) are still manufactured in metals.
NANONTUN3D takes advantage of the possibilities of Additive Manufacturing (AM) together with the development of a specially tailored Titanium Metal Matrix nano-Composite (Ti-MMNC) to achieve breakthrough improvements in structural parts.
The project workplan was focused on ultimately providing solutions to the lightweighting (lower mass and energy consumption) needs of the industry, dealing with:
A new metal powder for AM based on a nanomodified Ti6Al4V alloy with enhanced performance (from 15% to 40% improvement in structural properties with no weight penalty).
A “core-shell” concept and process (lab and industrial scale) for embedding ceramic NPs in the Ti6Al4V matrix.
The definition and scale up of two manufacturing routes for the NANOTUN3D material, based on the most popular powder production techniques: VIGA and EIGA.
The specification of the manufacturability requirements (process specification, design rules, reusability strategy, etc.) for processing the Ti-MMNC by two AM technologies: Laser Beam (LBM) and Electron Beam (EBM).
The postprocesses needed by the AM NANOTUN3D part: machining, surface and heat treatments.
A qualification approach of the developed material and transformation processes.
The development and Implementation of a Health, Environment and Safety Management System (HSE) to ensure near 0 risks associated with the use on the NANOTUN3D technology from core-shell production to final part.
The definition of a NANOTUN3D supply chain.
Thus conceived, NANOTUN3D has developed a complete workflow for a metal powder that has guaranteed NPs dispersion and integration, and has safe and reliable handling and manufacturing processes, able to be integrated in highly regulated supply chains such as the aero, space, mobility, etc., reaching expected savings between 40% and 50% of material in critical applications.
Once developed, this workflow has substance into a series of stablished processes physically linked to the partners in the consortium: the pilots or pilot plants. Listed below
Production of NPs. Owner: Laurentia Technologies.
Production of mixed Ti-MMNCs and EIGA ingot bars of Ti-MMNCs. Owner: ZOZ and CEIT.
Production of atomized powders Ti-MMNCs by EIGA. Owner: TLS Technik.
Production of atomized MMNCs by VIGA to lab scale. Owner: CEIT.
Production of melted Ti-MMNCs by LBM. Owner: TWI.
Production of melted Ti-MMNCs by EBM. Owner: AIDIMME
Machining and heat treatment workshop of Ti-MMNCs melted by LBM and EBM. Owner: APR.
Assessment of the HSE impact of different NPs into the supply-chain of Ti-MMNCs for being processed by AM (LBM and EBM). Owner: VITO.
The work during the project has concentrated on:
NPs configurations synthesis and scale-up and techno-economic evaluation and impact assessment.
HSE issues on the involved processes and facilities: Review of international regulation. Life cycle analysis (LCA). Exposure and Environmental and human health impact assessment. Establishment of a HSE management system
Atomization of powders by EIGA: Upscaling for batches of LBM and EBM suitable powder (hundreds of Kg.) with a homogeneous distribution of the NPs
Atomization of powders by VIGA: Obtaining of powder batches of 3-5 kg in laboratory atomizer.
Melting the powders by AM: Development of LBM and EBM process parameters for the Ti.MMNC material. Production of specimens and demo parts.
Post-processes: Machining and Heat treatment conditions for Ti-MMNC processed by AM.
Material/process qualification: Full characterization of the powder and melted Ti-MMNC material processed by EBM and LBM.
Feasibility study: Technical and economical feasibility, LCA, TRL and potential applicability to other scopes studies.
Dissemination and exploitation: Deployment of Communication activities. Dissemination streaming and liaison activities. Definition of Business model and Business plans.
Summary of mechanical behavior (Z direction) of the NANOTUN3D TiMMC material processed by EBM and LBM in comparison with the standard Ti6Al4V (ASTM F2924):
As built (EBM):
+32% Yield strength
+30% Tensile strength
After hipping (EBM):
+27% Yield strength
+28% Tensile strength
As built (LBM):
+56% Yield strength
+48% Tensile strength
After hipping (LBM):
+28% Yield strength
+28% Tensile strength
On the comparison of the porosity analysis and fatigue behaviour of the material processed by EBM and LBM technology:
HIP process also increased the density of the EBM and LBM processed specimens leading to values near to 100 %.
The fatigue resistance of NANOTUN3D TiMMC processed by EBM and LBM increased around 50% (low cycles) to 30% (high cycles) with respect to the standard Ti6Al4V.
Although experiences in adding NPs to metal powder for AM processing do exist, no dispersion optimisation is considered, and the industrialisation of the process (from powder batch volumes needed, handling and recycling protocols, to AM productivity and quality) is really underdefined. NANOTUN3D has dealt with these shortcomings through an innovative concept that goes beyond the State of the Art (SoA) of the areas involved:
In terms of NPs production, they have been developed by means of a new synthetic energy efficient process.
Several innovations relate to Powder Metallurgy: nanosized reinforcements of the powder particles (while the SoA is in the micron range), and development of alternative geometries for the gas atomizer.-
NANOTUN3D produced first TiMMCs for using in Metal AM Technologies (EBM and LBM).
An AM Process Qualification (Raw material quality, powder reusability, material structural performance for predicting analysis, process reproducibility, post-processes assessment and part validation) has been defined along with the material development.
As a contribution to HSE in Nanomanufacturing, NANOTUN3D has simulated the NP release of the measured real-life user scenarios in test chambers.
A pilot plant has been developed for producing a Ti-MMNC: core-shell NPs, mixing and consolidating NPs into metal matrix, atomising powders for LBM and EBM. The knowledge and the capabilities could be spread out to other MMNCs .
The impact expected on the final sectors mainly relates to the big effect of lightweighting on their products (each kg of weight reduced in the aircraft could save between 0.02 and 0.04 kg of fuel per hour, which could lead to savings of 4 t of fuel along the aircraft service life), but also on
Improved European position on AM by widening the applicability scope of AM technologies, where Europe has been leader. Competitive advantage will be provided to European AM powder manufacturers.
Fostering innovation capacity of SMES, which are the main actors in the AM field (powder manufacturers, AM technology manufacturers, service bureaus, finishing workshops, etc.).
Widening the applicability range of AM, by adding new materials and new functionalities to the current state of the art.
Promotion of the safe-by-design approaches related to nanosafety.
NANOTUN3D Workflow
NANOTUN3D Supply Chain and Pilot Plants