Nickel-titanium alloy for 3D printing with record-breaking superelasticity developed

Researchers at Texas A&M University used an optimization framework they developed,

which can determine the optimal parameters of the printing process to achieve a defect-free structure and specific material properties.

Using this structure, as well as changingalloy composition and improved printing parameters, the researchers produced nickel-titanium parts that consistently exhibited room temperature tensile superelasticity of 6% in the as-printed state (no post-fabrication heat treatment). According to the researchers, this level is almost double the previously described record for 3D printing.

Scientists say that such properties wereachieved by eliminating the porosity and cracks that occur during the printing process. The authors used optimized processing parameters, a carefully chosen process for evaporating nickel from nickel-rich NiTi powder, and controlling the oxygen content in the print chamber.

“Shape memory alloys are smart materials,which can remember their shape at high temperatures,” explains Lei Xue, one of the authors of the publication. “While they can be used in a variety of ways, making complex shape memory alloys requires fine tuning in order for the material to exhibit the desired properties.”

The researchers note that the possibility3D printing of shape memory alloys with increased superelasticity will reduce the cost and time of the production process. The scientists hope that in the future their discoveries will lead to greater use of printed nickel-titanium shape memory alloys in biomedical and aerospace applications.

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