SYDNEY, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- A highest specific strength titanium alloy created by an Australian-led international engineer team could mark a significant leap forward for aerospace, space industries, defence, energy and biomedical industries.
The team, led by Prof. Aijun Huang and Dr. Yuman Zhu from Monash University, claimed on Monday that with a post-heat treatment, they used a 3D-printing method to create an ultra strong titanium alloy, the highest strength-to-weight ratio among all 3D-printed metals to date. It paves the way to fabricate structural materials with unique nanotwinning microstructures and outstanding properties.
Their research, published in Nature Materials journal, designed a specific heat treatment for additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, to generate high-density internally twinned nanoprecipitates, Huang told Xinhua on Tuesday.
"Titanium alloys require complex casting and thermomechanical processing to achieve the high strengths required for some critical applications," Huang said.
"After a simple post-heat treatment on a commercially available titanium alloy, adequate elongation and tensile strengths over 1,600 MPa are achieved, the highest specific strength among all 3D printed metal to date."
Researchers said AM is widely used in metal fabrication across multiple industries, as it fabricates almost any geometrical part. Titanium alloys are also much stronger than aluminium alloys and lighter than steel, allowing for better energy efficiency.
"The 3D printing plus simple heat treatment also means the process cost is greatly reduced compared to other materials with similar strength," said Huang.
"Our findings offer a completely new approach to precipitation strengthening in commercial alloys that can be immediately utilised to produce real components with complex shape for load-bearing application." ■