Breakthrough in the development of new materials for 3D printing

Researchers at the University of Kassel and national partners have succeeded in developing a sustainable design of new tailorable and safer materials for 3D printing.

Image: Paavo Blafield
Julia Richter preparing the equipment for 3D printing. The newly developed steel-based alloys are filled in.

In the Department of Metallic Materials at the Institute of Materials Engineering at the University of Kassel, so-called "additive manufacturing", i.e. 3D printing of metals, as well as research into new materials are key research areas. A major challenge in materials development for 3D printing is to design the materials used for printing in such a way that they can meet the high demands of industry in terms of shape and reliability. In close collaboration with Prof. Dr. Olena Volkova from the TU Bergakademie Freiberg and Dr. Javad Mola, head of the laboratory department at the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, the Kassel scientists have now succeeded in developing a new material design that is ideally suited to the requirements of 3D printing. The design is resource-efficient and thus more sustainable than comparable components.

"The properties of the alloys can be specified to the point in the manufacturing process. In the group of so-called metastable austenitic steels, we have varied the content of the alloying element nickel in such a way that we can specifically adjust the microstructure with its properties during the laser-based manufacturing process", says Julia Richter, Researcher in the project.

"With the current results, we have been able to achieve another milestone towards sustainable and safe materials for additive manufacturing. The new alloys are not only damage-tolerant, they even allow us to address the major problem of residual stress directly in the manufacturing process", Prof. Dr. Ing. Niendorf, head of the Metallic Materials department, adds.

Residual stress can build up within the material during various processing steps, for example due to extreme temperature changes. They can cause significant damage, up to and including the complete destruction of a component. In the newly developed approach, this problem is solved directly by the precisely fitting chemical composition of the alloy.

Materials science is a central research focus at the University of Kassel. With the new process, Professor Niendorf's working group has once again provided significant impetus in this field of research. The results obtained by the consortium are so significant that they have been published in the internationally highly respected journal Scientific Reports (Nature). The article can be found here: