3D-printed stainless steel is up to 3 times tougher than alternatives

3d printed steel marine grade 8a6b0820
Investigators at several research institutions, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Ames National Laboratory, Georgia Tech University, and Oregon State University, have made a major breakthrough in the 3D printing of 316L, a type of versatile “marine-grade” stainless steel.

316L is a superior material to other marine grade steels — used in everything from oil pipelines and kitchen utensils to medical implants and engine parts — which have high strength, but low ductility. Ductility refers to the important ability of metals to plastically deform and adapt when they are put under stress. This quality, the opposite of brittleness, allows them to absorb energy and makes them more durable.

After designing the new steel material’s underlying microstructure with computer modeling, the researchers used two different laser 3D printers to fabricate thin plates of 316L for mechanical testing. They found that the new material can be up to three times stronger than steels manufactured using conventional techniques. “This opens the door for 3D printing real components,” Morris Wang, a materials scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, told Digital Trends.

3d printed steel marine grade joe mckeown and thomas voisin

At present, the work is still very much in the research stages, but it suggests that ultra-strong 3D-printed stainless steel could not be too far away. This would allow the aforementioned applications — such as engine parts, medical implants and more — to be made significantly tougher. In particular, the researchers think the advance could have applications in fields like aerospace and the oil and gas industries, where it is important to improve the durability of metal components because of the extreme conditions that they face. Although, hey, what self-respecting D.I.Y. 3D-printing enthusiast would turn down the opportunity to incorporate new ultra-tough materials into their workshops?

“Our next goal is to apply 3D-printing technology to other lighterm but more brittle materials, to see whether we can make them stronger and more ductile,” Wang continued. However, he added that the team is only focused on the research side and that, “We’ll leave industry people to commercialize our findings.”

A paper describing the work, titled “Additively manufactured hierarchical stainless steels with high strength and ductility,” was recently published in the journal Nature Materials.

Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Gaming

The most common Nintendo 3DS problems, and how to fix them

The Nintendo 3DS has seen its fair share of issues since it launched in 2011, including poor battery life and fragile Circle Pads. Here are some of the most common, as well as the steps you can take to solve them.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Emerging Tech

There’s a giant EMP blaster in New Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s here to protect us

An electromagnetic pulse has the potential to disable virtually all electronics within a large area. To help protect against such a threat is a new, friendly EMP emitter. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

There’s a new lab-grown meat startup on the block — and it has a secret weapon

Aleph Farms is developing lab-grown steaks with the same flavor, shape, texture, and structure as the real thing using beef cells isolated from living cows. Coming soon to a store near you?
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.