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.
Kort sammanfattning av projektidén
ALL-LIGHT focuses on the development of high strength aluminium (Al) alloys for additive manufacturing (AM) coupled with weight optimized design for AM of components used in aerospace and industrial applications. ALL-LIGHT new approach aims to enhance Al AM production in its entirety, starting from the based material, the powder, continuing with choosing the relevant parameters for the process and the post treatment and finishing with design optimization for AM. This should lead to the production of high strength aluminium demonstrators, to the qualification of a new Al grade for AM and, after a qualification of performance for the Al AM components to the development of a standard component for Al AM.
Projektets bidrag till våra programmål
ALL-LIGHT addresses an industrial need of having high strength Al alloys for AM to step in performance compared to steel or mainstream AM Al-Mg-Si alloy. The projects results will respond to the innovation’s themes 2 “lighter with a shorter development time” and 4 “lighter with improved properties” and will cover TRL 3 to 5. This will be verified through the manufacturing of lightweight demonstrators, chosen with the industrial partners but also with the conception and manufacturing of specific test builds for the qualification of performances. Others results of ALL-LIGHT will be spreading knowledge on Al AM generic design characteristics and starting to work on the standardization of Al AM components. If ALL-LIGHT is successful, it will then strengthen all the skills chain from academics to SME and end-users companies (innovation mechanism 5) and by consequence improve the Swedish competitiveness in lightweight technologies. A final goal will be for the industrial partners to find commercial applications of Al AM components within five years with the support of the consortium.
ALL-Light will take advantage of an actors’ constellation designed for developing high strength Al alloys and building lighter Al AM components. Indeed, AM starts with powders for which recognized partners such as Chalmers, Swerea IVF and Höganäs, a worldwide known powder company, are involved. We aim also to optimize the AM process, design and post-treatments of printed elements. For this, ALL-LIGHT will benefit from experts at Swerea IVF, Chalmers but also AGA gas, a gas technology leader in Scandinavia, Quintus Technologies, world leader in high pressure technology and AMEXCI, a Swedish SME whose goal is to accelerate adoption of AM in industries. Finally, Swedish Al end-user companies for demanding applications, such as SAAB and ABB, will set the specification for the components which will help to build standardized test builds with the SIS (Swedish Standards Institute).
RISE IVF (Swerea IVF)
Chalmers Tekniska Högskola AB
AGA Gas AB
Quintus Technologies AB
SIS, Swedish Standards Institute
Projektet delfinansieras av Vinnova