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Research on metal 3D printing technology and special powder -LENS(2)

Categories: ZCMIM NewsStars: 3StarsVisit: -Release time: 2019-11-01 10:01:00
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Laser engineering net shaping technology (LENS)

LENS is a new rapid prototyping technology first proposed by Sandia national laboratories. Its characteristics are: direct manufacture complex shape and structure metal functional parts or mold; widely range of metal or alloy materials can be processed and heterogeneous material parts can be realized. It is convenient to process materials with high melting point and difficult to process.

LENS is a 3D printing technology for metal parts based on laser cladding technology. Metal powder supplied synchronously by medium and high power laser is melted and deposited on substrate layer by layer according to preset track, and finally forms metal parts. In 1999, LENS technology was named one of 25 most creative technologies in American industry. 

Foreign researchers used LENS technology to prepare porous and functional gradient structure of payload implant. Materials used were alloys such as Ni and Ti that have good compatibility with human body. Porosity of prepared implant can reach up to 70% and its service life can reach 7-12 years. Krishna and other peoples prepared porous biological implants with ti-6al-4v and co-cr-mo alloy, and studied mechanical properties of implants. It was found that young's modulus reached 90 GPa when porosity was 10%, and dropped sharply to 2 GPa when porosity was 70%, so that  mechanical properties of implants could be adapted to organisms by changing porosity. Xue chunfang and others in China adopt LENS technology to obtain mesh Co - based superalloy thin-wall parts with good microstructure, micro-hardness and mechanical properties. Fei xingxing used LENS technology to shape sample of ni-cu-sn alloy without deformation.

In LENS system, coaxial feeder includes feeder, feeder head and protective air circuit. Powder feeder includes a powder feeding box and a powder feeding mechanism. Flow rate of powder is determined by speed of stepper motor. In order to increase fluidity of metal powder under action of dead weight, powder feeder was set up at a height of 2.5 m. Metal powder from feeder is evenly divided into 4 parts by powder divider and flows into powder head through hose. Metal powder is sprayed from nozzle head to laser focus to complete melting and accumulation process. All powder paths are driven by protective gas, which isolates metal powder from air to prevent oxidation of metal powder. 

At present, rapid prototyping technology has gradually become mature, developed countries have also taken laser engineering net forming technology as focus of research, and some substantial results have been achieved. In practical application, this technology can be used to make functional composite materials, which can repair high-value-added titanium alloy blades, and can also be used in production of helicopters, passenger aircraft and missiles. In addition, technology can also be applied in field of biological implantation. Ni and Ti materials compatible with human body are used to prepare implant, which effectively improves voidage and prolongs use time of implant.

Keywords in the article: metal 3D printing special powder
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