Army Technology Could Enable 3D-Printed Metal Replacement Parts for Soldiers
Materials manufacturing scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory are looking at new technologies to rapidly create replacement parts for soldiers, and are working with a metal alloy called AF96 that was originally developed by the U.S. Air Force. The Army researchers first adapted the metal to powder form. Using the process Powder Bed Fusion, a 3D printer's laser selectively melts the powder in a pattern. The printer then coats the build plate with another layer of powder and the process is repeated until the part is complete. The laboratory is working closely with industry and academic researchers to model new alloy designs, perform computational thermodynamics, and expedite the process to get the materials to soldiers.