LLNL Developing New Direct Metal Writing for 3D Printing

Published by , April 4, 2017 12:07 pm

(LawrenceLivermore)  Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers, along with collaborators at Worchester Polytechnic Institute, are taking a wholly new approach to metal 3D printing with a process they call direct metal writing, in which semisolid metal is directly extruded from a nozzle. The process is being designed to overcome the drawbacks of SLM.
The metal is engineered to be a shear thinning material, which means it acts like a solid when standing still, but flows like a liquid when a force is applied. Instead of starting with metal powder, the direct metal writing technique uses an ingot that is heated until it reaches a semi-solid state — solid metal particles are surrounded by a liquid metal, resulting in a paste-like behavior, then it’s forced through a nozzle.

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