AM ResearchMetal Additive Manufacturing

Binghamton University leverages oxidation in 3D printing

“You can’t avoid oxidation, so we are trying to take advantage of it by turning it into a new, reinforcing mechanism to make the material stronger.”

Stay up to date with everything that is happening in the wonderful world of AM via our LinkedIn community.

According to Binghamton University, Professor Changhong Ke, a faculty member at Watson College’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, has received a $150,000 grant through the National Science Foundation’s Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) program to investigate the potential of building nanotubes into additively manufactured metals, particularly aluminum.

Ke believes that microscopic structures made of boron nitride – a compound commonly used in cosmetics, pencil lead, and cement for dental applications – would make the material self-strengthening under corrosive conditions like moisture and seawater.

“You can’t avoid oxidation, so we are trying to take advantage of it by turning it into a new, reinforcing mechanism to make the material stronger,” said Changhong Ke. “That would be something really amazing. People could try to design the materials to include these sorts of porosities or even purposely introducing structures that can be more easily oxidized because it becomes something beneficial instead of harmful to the material itself.”

The nanotubes threaded throughout the metal are a few nanometers thick, and a few to hundreds of microns long. To see how the oxidation changes the way that nanotubes bind to metal – a core issue in the self-strengthening mechanism – Ke and his team in the Nanomechanics Laboratory at the Binghamton University will use a force sensor to pull individual nanotubes out of the oxidized metal inside a high-resolution scanning electron microscope, which allows them to watch what is happening in real-time. “We designed this as a sandwich structure,” he said. “It’s like a hot dog, with the nanotube as the meat and the metal as the bread.”

The researchers will also test the material on a macro scale – looking at load transfer to learn more about how oxidation affects the stiffness, strength, and toughness of the nanotube-reinforced metal. Collaborators from the University of Illinois will confirm Ke’s experimental findings through computational modeling.

“We’re hoping this will provide a new perspective to the scientific community about how we view metal oxidation in terms of future material design,” said Ke. “That could change the research landscape for these metal materials, particularly for 3D printed metal. It has so many promising applications in different areas, and it even could revitalize US manufacturing competitiveness.”

Composites AM 2024

746 composites AM companies individually surveyed and studied. Core composites AM market generated over $785 million in 2023. Market expected to grow to $7.8 billion by 2033 at 25.8% CAGR. This new...

Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close Popup
Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

Technical Cookies
In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services


Join our 12,000+ Professional community and get weekly AM industry insights straight to your inbox. Our editor-curated newsletter equips executives, engineers, and end-users with crucial updates, helping you stay ahead.