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Stainless-steel alloy for additive manufacturing

By Scott Jenkins |

QuesTek Innovations LLC (Evanston, Ill.; www.questek.com) has introduced a stainless-steel powder designed for additive manufacturing (AM; 3D printing) that allows complex, high-strength parts to be made without the need for expensive post-treatments, such as cryogenic processing or high-temperature heat treatment. Designed for powder-bed fusion 3D printing, the new powder overcomes the poor and variable properties observed when using 17-4 steel (17% Cr; 4% Ni) in 3D printers.

Dana Frankel, QuesTek Manager of Design and Product Development says “With QuesTek’s QT 17-4 powders, a fully martensitic microstructure is achieved in the as-printed condition. The high-temperature solution heat-treatment process, required for conventional 17-4, is not needed for QuesTek’s alloys, and the resulting properties have less variation.” The corrosion resistance and fatigue performance of AM alloys made from these powders is equivalent or improved over AM material printed using commercially available 17-4 powders, QuesTek says.

The company’s new powders can be used in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, defense, medical, chemical processing and energy. QuesTek is in discussions with commercialization partners, including alloy producers, metal AM machine manufacturers and service bureaus to license these technologies and accelerate commercial adoption.

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