Lighter components through additive manufacturing of aluminum alloys
The ALL-LIGHT project aims at developing high strength aluminum alloys for additive manufacturing (AM) coupled with optimized design by AM for light components for aerospace and industrial applications. Focus is placed on laser powder-bed fusion; the fastest growing metal AM process. Today, basically only an Al-Si-Mg grade derived from casting is commercialized for AM and this alloy does not have the performance to match high strength applications. There is also a proprietary Al-Sc alloy, but this alloy is based on high cost alloying element and not readily available for extensive use. Hence, it is clear that extensive application of high strength Al-alloys by AM must rely on other principles involving the advanced solidification control intended here. To match the specific strength of steel, high strength Al-alloy with YS>350 MPa and UTS>400 MPa is needed. For equal specific strength, an Al alloy with YS of 350 MPa would correspond to a steel with YS>1000 MPa, and would clearly allow new designs in AM. This would also constitute a step in performance compared to the current mainstream Al-Mg-Si alloy with YS>230 MPa and UTS>300 MPa. ALL-LIGHT will therefore address the design and materials development for AM in combination, which means a significant step forward in providing industrial solutions, considering that Al is the second most important lightweight structural material. Success in ALL-LIGHT would mean integrated material, design and process solutions for lightweighting Al-alloys products. Moreover, the project will set a platform in Sweden for powder producers and end-users to maintain their competitiveness through new value chain, bringing innovative material and product solutions to the market.
Lars Nyborg (contact)
Full Professor at Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science
SIS Swedish Standards Institute
Project ID: 2018-02844
Funding Chalmers participation during 2018–2021