3D Systems announced that it is the first company in the world to market a powdered version of a copper-nickel alloy (CuNi30) for 3D printing. The material was developed jointly with Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) – America’s largest military shipbuilding company, and is designed for use with a metal laser 3D printer, the DMP Flex 350. 3D Systems intends to launch the new powder in the fourth quarter of this year.

Due to its high reflectivity, pure copper is extremely difficult to work with on laser 3D metal printers. CuNi30 consists of 30% nickel, in the lower range of the copper content for typical copper-nickel alloys. It is possible that this could give it an advantage among all the copper-nickel powders used in laser melting platforms.

HII was established in 2011 as a subsidiary of defense giant Northrop Grumman. 3D Systems has developed the new material in collaboration with HII Newport News Shipbuilding Division based in Newport News, Virginia. HII also has a shipbuilding branch in Mississippi (Ingalls Shipbuilding), as well as a branch of more general defense and industrial technologies, including nuclear power and oil and gas.

In addition to shipbuilding, copper and nickel alloys are useful in virtually all other sectors where corrosion resistance is a concern, such as nuclear power and oil and gas. Aside from being the other sectors HII is involved in, these are also sectors that are recently beginning to greatly increase the popularity of 3D printing. By bringing together a range of basic materials for 3D printing, supplies of both copper and nickel are increasingly volatile and seem to remain so. In this context, the growing availability of 3D printing options with copper-nickel alloys is another sign that additive technologies will have an increasing impact on all energy-related sectors.

Source: www.3dsystems.com
Photo: www.3dsystems.com (press materials / all rights reserved)

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