Metal materials have proven to be cost-effective for manufacturing; deploying them for use in additive processes could enable the production of innovative, complex designs with minimal material waste. These materials are primarily used in energy, space, and nuclear applications that also produce extreme heat environments.

A 3D-printed turbine blade demonstrates the use of the new class of nickel-based superalloys that can withstand extreme heat environments without cracking or losing strength. (Photo: ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy)

Only a limited number of existing alloys are amenable to the complex thermal conditions present during metal-based additive manufacturing (AM), where layer-by-layer growth of the component is achieved through local melting of metal powder by either a laser or electron beam energy source.

Resarchers processed a cobalt and nickel (CoNi) class of superalloys and proved that they remained crack-free in electron-beam and laser-melting 3D-printing processes. CoNi-based superalloys can be processed through both selective laser melting (SLM) and electron beam melting (EBM) manufacturing pathways, resulting in crack-free components.

Room temperature tensile testing revealed that CoNi-based superalloys have an excellent combination of ductility and strength compared to other Ni-based superalloys currently being investigated for AM. The approach demonstrates that the CoNi-based superalloy compositional space provides opportunities for the development of superalloys that can leverage the potential of AM.

For more information, contact Jennifer J. Burke at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 865-414-6835.