The Aheadd® CP1 aluminium powder, an AM powder that has just been qualified for Formula 1, will now be used on AddUp FormUp® 350 machines. The material developed by Constellium is an interesting alternative to traditional grades such as AS7 or AS10.
According to OEM AddUp, the current AM market is dominated by AS7 and AS10 grades (alloys of aluminum, silicon and magnesium, originally created for the foundry industry). Constellium offers an aluminum-iron-zirconium alloy with higher solderability which makes it possible to increase laser power and scan speed and therefore to improve productivity. The gains can range depending on the type of part to be printed, and more could be achieved in the next years.
Above all, with Constellium alloy, post-build operations are simplified. “To obtain the best mechanical properties using AS7 and AS10 grades, several long and expensive post-build treatments must be carried out, such as hot isostatic pressing and, solution and aging Etc,” explains Frédéric Sar, Materials Officer at AddUp. “With Aheadd CP1, very similar material properties can be achieved with a simple heat treatment at 400°C.” Saving time and money on these post-printing operations, which represent up to 40 to 50% of the cost of L-PBF parts, can make a difference in the profitability of an application.
Key mechanical properties
The Aheadd® CP1 aluminium powder delivers higher productivity and better performance for heat dissipation applications. In a press communication, AddUp says the mechanical properties of parts made on its machines with this material (particle size 20-63 µm) are close to those of AS7 in terms of hardness, at least equivalent in fatigue resistance and higher in ductility. These parts are also compatible with anodizing treatments to improve corrosion resistance.
This alloy is stable up to 250°C without degrading its microstructure. Therefore, the parts made out of this material can be used at higher temperatures compared to AS7, which paves the way for lightweight applications for the aerospace industry, the company says.
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