Beamit Develops AM Process for Nickel-Based Superalloy

November 1, 2021

Beamit-Nickel-HIP-Press-X-QuintusBeamit Group announced development of a printing process for René 80 RAM1, a nickel-based superalloy, which offers a host of energy and aerospace applications, according to company officials. René 80 reportedly offers a high melting point and excellent oxidation resistance at high temperatures, making parts made from the superalloy ideal for use in the energy industry for turbines and valves, and also for the aerospace industry. 

The first step in developing the additive manufacturing (AM) process for René 80 was processing the alloy, with the powder modified by Elementum 3D using its RAM technology. Upon modification of the alloy’s chemical composition, Beamit Group technicians developed and optimized the laser powder-bed fusion process to achieve required density and a crack-free microstructure. And, the company conducted research to identify the most suitable treatment and also to eliminate any cracks in the components.

“René 80 is proving that our one-stop shop strategy succeeds throughout the entire value chain, including when researching and developing new materials,” says Andrea Scanavini, Beamit Group general manager. “The tougher the technological challenges, the more that process integration and the innovation of post-processing, made available to highly skilled metallurgists, not only make the difference but become the only way forward. René 80 is one of our first demonstrations of this concept.” 

The parameters for René 80 RAM1 treated with hot isostatic pressing (HIPing) and HIP quenching were characterized and compared with as-built René 80 by Pres-X (of which Beamit owns a stake), using Quintus HIP technology. With the optimized HIP-Q cycle, Beamit reportedly recorded significantly improved mechanical properties as compared with the aged condition of René 80 produced with conventional technologies. 

Beamit-Nickel-superallloy-HIP-microstructureThe advantage of the process parameterized by Beamit Group lies in the HIP-Q phase, according to company officials, who disclose that the treatment can be performed with Quintus HIP technology and enables HIPing to be followed by rapid quenching in argon to produce a high-performance material with only a one-step heat treatment. This results in shorter lead times than treatments using conventional methods.

High-temperature testing to gauge crack resistance confirmed a yield strength of 750 MPa at 900 C, according to Jacopo Sisti, Beamit Group materials and special processes manager.

“It was a challenge to actually print an alloy that performs so well at high temperatures, but we fine-tuned the AM process and succeeded, and we achieved high density,” he says. “The turning point came with the innovative HIP-quenching heat treatment. We avoided the formation of cracks in the material, which meant that we delivered better static mechanical properties than the alloy produced with conventional technologies.”

Industry-Related Terms: Gauge, LASER, Oxidation, Point, Quenching, Ram
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms


See also: Quintus Technologies, LLC, Beamit



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