Elementum 3D receives patents in the U.S., Canada, and Australia for its Reactive Additive Manufacturing technology.

Figure 3 (left). Unmodified "standard" 2024 aluminum alloy without RAM addition exhibits columnar grain growth. Figure 4 (right). Elementum 3D's A6061-RAM2 aluminum alloy with RAM addition exhibits ductal behavior.

Elementum 3D has been granted patents in the U.S., Canada and Australia for its Reactive Additive Manufacturing Technology (RAM).

Elementum 3D leverages its RAM technology for the creation of printable, high-performance alloy powders based on established wrought alloys, including aluminum 1000, 2024, 6061, 7050, and 7075.

The announcement sheds further light on the manufacturer’s capabilities to produce materials. Indeed, thanks to its core technology, the US-based company has been working on a new range of metallic materials that could be processed on laser powder bed fusion (LPBF).  This new range of materials is the result of the combination of AM with desirable-but-previously unprintable traditional manufacturing materials.

Popular high strength wrought aluminum alloys could not previously be printed because they suffer hot tearing (solidification cracking), resulting in parts with very poor mechanical properties. The RAM process forms sub-micron inoculants in the melt pool that nucleate aluminum grains to produce a fine equiaxed microstructure for good printability and exceptional performance. By making AM versions of these alloys widely available, Elementum 3D eliminates material compromises and democratizes materials freedom”, explains the company.

Figure 1. Unmodified “standard” 6061 aluminum alloy after printing by laser powder bed fusion showing large grains and an extensive network of intergranular cracking. The left-hand image is unetched and the right-hand micrograph is etched with weck’s reagent and taken at higher magnification.
Figure 2. Elementum 3D’s A6061-RAM2 aluminum alloy showing a crack-free microstructure with the darker phase comprising reinforcing particles and the very fine (1-2 µm) aluminum grains revealed after etching with weck’s reagent in the higher magnification image on the right.

We usually only highlight the “Design for Freedom” capability allowed by AM. However, it should be noted that a similar capability should be provided by materials. In a metal AM process especially, operators should take advantage of a form of materials freedom, yet framed by concise printing parameters. Indeed, the path of the material in an AM process is crucial for a successful fabrication. That’s why, operators should be able to pre-define printing process parameters for feedstock powders and that’s something Elementum 3D can provide via its material process development.

Figure 3 (left). Unmodified “standard” 2024 aluminum alloy without RAM addition exhibits columnar grain growth. Figure 4 (right). Elementum 3D’s A6061-RAM2 aluminum alloy with RAM addition exhibits ductal behavior.

According to Dr. Jacob Nuechterlein, President and Founder of the company, the limited selection of printable metal materials slows down the wider adoption of AM. Their “technology advances metals development for additive manufacturing at an unprecedented pace. It gives engineers the extra degree of freedom they have never experienced, inspiring them to bring into existence new and innovative applications.

For the company that has recently achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification for quality management, these newly granted patents will further inspire trust in its existing and new clients.

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