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Metal-Matrix Composites Fit the Bill for Tooling and Other Wear Parts

February 1, 2015

The NanoSteel Co., Providence, RI, has expanded its engineered-powders business into additive manufacturing. By leveraging its uniform metal-matrix microstructures in the laser-sintering process, the company’s initial focus in additive manufacturing supports the market need for on-demand, onsite wear parts while addressing the current challenges in 3D printing of high-hardness parts.

NanoSteel’s breakthrough overcomes one of the major hurdles to achieving a high-hardness metallic part through additive manufacturing: the tendency to develop cracks during part builds. It worked with a global process-development partner to optimize processing of a proprietary Nano-Steel alloy with a high volume fraction of borocarbide phases. This successfully produced a fully dense (99.9 percent) crack-free part with hardness values exceeding 1000 HV, as well as wear resistance comparable to conventionally manufactured M2 tool steels and a uniform microstructure. Importantly, these properties reportedly were achieved without the need for post-processing, including heat treatment, reducing production cost and lead times.

Says Harald Lemke, NanoSteel’s general manager of engineered powders: “By extending the reach of steel into markets currently served by WC-Co, ceramics and other nonferrous metal matrix-metal composites, NanoSteel has the potential to generate cost-efficient wear parts to serve the tooling, mining, energy and transportation industries in applications such as pumps, bearings and cutting tools.”


See also: NanoSteel Company, Inc., The

Technologies: Additive Manufacturing


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