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A20X is the strongest aluminium powder for additive manufacturing

Published on August 15, 2019 by Carlota V.
strongest aluminium powder

Aeromet has reported that its A20X patented aluminium alloy for casting and additive manufacturing has surpassed the 500 MPa UTS (Ultimate Tensile Strength) mark, meaning that it is possibly the strongest aluminium powder for additive manufacturing commercially available today. The A20X is suitable for aerospace components that require durability and precision. 

As part of a recent research project called HighSAP, that involved both Rolls-Royce and Renishaw, the heat-treated parts using A20X powder achieved 511 MPa. As a result, the parts achieved high-strength and fatigue properties even at elevated temperatures. Mike Bond, director of Advanced Material Technology at Aeromet, commented: “Since bringing the A20X alloy to market for additive manufacturing five years ago we have seen significant adoption for high-strength, design-critical applications. By working with Rolls-Royce, Renishaw and PSI we have optimised processing parameters that led to record-breaking results, opening up new design possibilities for aerospace and advanced engineering applications.”

Part of a winglet manufactured by Aeromet | Credits: Aeromet

The aerospace industry was one of the earliest adopters of 3D printing, the use of the technology dates back to 1989. This technology, in particular for metal pieces, is extremely useful. It brings value to prototyping, tooling applications and also end-part production. In this sector, constant research initiatives are undertaken to advance the adoption of additive manufacturing. This research project is a perfect example of the progress companies are making to develop stronger and more durable materials that offer increased capabilities. 

HighSAP was backed by the UK’s National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Program (NATEP), also led by Aeromet and involving Rolls-Royce, Renishaw and atomisation experts, PSI. The main strengths of A20X are strength, fatigue and temperature. For example, parts made of this alloy are said to be able to withstand temperatures at 50°C higher than conventional aluminium casting alloys. 

It seems that materials are driving much of the growth in the AM industry. Wohler’s latest report described the boom additive manufacturing materials experienced in 2018, especially metals. Now that 3D printing technologies have been put in place, focus on developing materials for various sectors is a priority. 

You can find the original press release HERE.

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