InssTek, a South Korean company specializing in metal 3D printing, succeeded in manufacturing FGM rocket nozzles using multi-materials. Aerospace components used in extreme environments can be made with optimal materials with superior characteristics by each region.
Aerospace components are used in extreme environments. Especially, rocket nozzles have different requirements by parts. Many parameters such as the working temperature and heat flow are different in the upper and lower regions of the nozzle, thus the preferred types of materials may vary for each region.
Accordingly, there is an increasing demand to apply different materials for each part, however, a challenge in binding two different materials is that if two different ones are directly attached, the adhesive surface may become weak due to the difference in characteristics of the material, but if the composition is gradually changed, it can produce a more stable material that can withstand harsher applications.
Functionally Graded Material (FGM) is the novel method of combining two materials. FGM gradually changes the composition of two different materials to produce a multi-material part.
Most metal 3D printing technologies such as casting, forging, and cutting, manufacture parts with a single material. However, in the case of Direct Energy Deposition (DED), it has a very big advantage that multiple materials can be used. The DED method is a metal 3D printing method in which a base material is melted with a laser and metal powder is supplied to a molten pool to be alloyed. At this time, when the supplied metal powder is supplied with multiple materials, the result of the alloy has a new composition.
When 3D printing with multi-materials, the most important technology is the “Powder Supply” technology. It should supply the same quantities for a long time and supply multiple powders at the same time. Because the properties of metal alloy are easily changed by the composition of elements. Thus “Accurate Control ” and “Multiple Powder Feeding” technology is essential.
InssTek’s CVM Powder Feeding System is a technology for stable powder supply in the metal 3D printing process, It can be controlled within ±5% of the target amount by monitoring the powder supply in real-time. In addition, it is an optimized technology for manufacturing multi-material parts with a new composition by independently controlling up to six different powders.
InssTek has its own HW, SW, and material processing technologies that are needed to manufacture multi-material parts. Based on these technologies, InssTek succeeded in making an actual scale rocket nozzle into FGM. Various research is underway to apply multi-material parts to diverse fields such as aerospace, marine, and medical industry.
Meanwhile, InssTek will participate in IMTS to be held in Chicago in September and FormNext to be held in Frankfurt, Germany in November to showcase various metal 3D printing technologies, including “Multi-Material Manufacturing” technology.
You can find out more about InssTeK here.