The Strength, durability and corrosion-resistant properties of Stainless Steel are essential when building things like cargo ships, airplanes or Nuclear Power stations. That is why many of them use the very durable and corrosion-resistant allow called 17-4 precipitation hardening (PH) stainless steel. In a new technique it is now possible to 3d print 17-4 stainless steel.
The team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Argonne National Laboratory, have located a 17-4 steel composition that when printed match the properties of conventionally manufactured 17-4 stainless steel. The technique is based around high-speed data obtained using high-energy X-rays from a particle accelerator.
This new technique will help produce 17-4 PH parts using 3D printing, cut costs dramatically. The approach used to examine the material also sets the table for a better understanding of how to print other types of materials. Despite it’s advantages over conventional manufacturing, 3D-printing can produce results that incompatible in certain situations.
"Our 17-4 is reliable and reproducible, which lowers the barrier for commercial use. If they follow this composition, manufacturers should be able to print out 17-4 structures that are just as good as conventionally manufactured parts," said Lianyi Chen, a professor of mechanical engineering at UW-Madison
3d printing is an exciting new development in Stainless Steel, and it will be interesting to see how long it takes to see it applied to mainstream applications like Stainless Steel tables and Stainless Steel cupboards.