Most 3D-printed metal alloys consist of a myriad of microscopic crystals, which differ in shape, size, and atomic lattice orientation. Scientists and engineers can infer the alloy’s properties by mapping out this information, such as strength and toughness. This is similar to looking at wood grain, where wood is most robust when the grain is continuous in the same direction.
This made-in-NTU technology could benefit, for example, the aerospace sector, where a low-cost, rapid assessment of mission-critical parts — turbine, fan blades and other components — could be a gamechanger for the maintenance, repair and overhaul industry.
Compared to the current gold standard of using a scanning electron microscope that is expensive and time-consuming, this fast and easy method of analysing metal alloys requires only 15 minutes and costs only a fraction of the price.
The team’s findings were published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal npj Computational Materials by the Nature Publishing Group.
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