NASA researchers have created a new metal alloy that is more than 1,000 times more durable than other alloys at extreme temperatures and can be 3D printed
New NASA material designed to withstand extreme conditions.
NASA scientists have developed a new metal alloy using a 3D printing process that dramatically improves the strength and durability of components and parts used in aviation and space explorationresulting in better and longer lasting performance.
NASA’s GRX-810 alloy, an Oxide Dispersion Strengthened (ODS) alloy, can withstand temperatures over 1000ºC, is more malleable and can withstand more than 1000 times longer than alloys from existing tip.
These new alloys can be used to build aerospace parts for high-temperature applications, such as those found inside aircraft and rocket engines, because ODS alloys can withstand harsher conditions before reaching their breaking point.
Nanoscale oxide particles convey the incredible performance benefits of this alloy.
Dale Hopkins, deputy director of NASA’s Transformational Tools and Technologies project.
Producing ODS alloys for these extreme environments is difficult and expensive. To develop NASA’s GRX-810 alloy, agency researchers used computer models to determine the composition of the alloy.
The team then leveraged 3D printing to evenly disperse the nanoscale oxides throughout the alloy, providing improved high-temperature properties and long-lasting performance. This manufacturing process is more efficient, cost effective and cleaner than conventional manufacturing methods.
Impact and benefits.
These alloys have important implications for the future.
For example, when used in a jet engine, the alloy’s higher temperature and greater durability translates into a reduction in fuel consumption and operating and maintenance costs.
This alloy also offers engine part designers new flexibilities, such as lighter materials, as well as major performance improvements. Designers can now consider compromises they couldn’t make before, without sacrificing performance.
Breakthrough performance: A revolution in material development.
New NASA alloys offer better mechanical properties at extreme temperatures. At 1000°C, GRX-810 exhibits significant performance improvements over today’s state-of-the-art alloys, including:
- Doubles the strength to resist fracture.
- Three and a half times the flexibility to stretch/bend before the fracture.
- Over 1,000 times the durability under high temperature stress.
This breakthrough is revolutionary for materials development. New types of stronger, lighter materials play a vital role in NASA’s goal to change the future of flight. It used to be that an increase in tensile strength served to reduce a material’s ability to stretch and bend before breaking, which is why our new alloy is remarkable.
Discovery/Development: Coupling Additive Manufacturing with Materials ModelingThe team applied thermodynamic modeling and leveraged 3D printing to develop the new high-temperature alloy that delivered this breakthrough performance.
The application of these two processes has considerably accelerated the rate of development of our materials. We can now produce new materials faster and with better performance than before.
Tim Smith, scientist Glenn Research Center – NASA
What used to take years through a process of trial and error, is now a matter of weeks or months to make discoveries.
Using thermodynamic models, one of many computational tools analyzed in NASA’s Vision 2040 study, the team discovered the optimal composition of the alloy after just 30 simulations.
This modeling tool produces results in much less time and at a lower cost than traditional trial and error processes. The tool also avoids dead ends by showing researchers not only what types of metals to incorporate, but also how much of each element should be infused into the composition.
The performance of this alloy clearly demonstrates the maturity of the modeling tool and its ability to produce significant results.
Steve Arnold, NASA
Going through www.nasa.gov