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NASA demonstrates ultra high heat GRX-810 alloy for 3D printing

An an oxide dispersion-strengthened alloy, twice as strong as currently available superalloys

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A team of innovators from NASA and The Ohio State University have detailed the characteristics of a new metal alloy, GRX-810, a breakthrough in 3D printable high-temperature material that could lead to stronger, more durable parts for airplanes and spacecraft. The findings were published in a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Nature.

“This superalloy has the potential to dramatically improve the strength and toughness of components and parts used in aviation and space exploration,” said Dr. Tim Smith of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, lead author of the Nature paper. Smith and his Glenn colleague Christopher Kantzos invented GRX-810.

Smith and his team employed time-saving computer modeling, as well as laser powder bed fusion 3D printing (LPBF) to produce sample parts. They used this process to produce the NASA logo pictured above.

Scatter plot of superalloy creep rupture life at 1,093 °C. GRX-810 presents superior creep properties compared with wrought alloys currently used in 3D printed high-temperature applications.

GRX-810 is an oxide dispersion-strengthened alloy. In other words, tiny particles containing oxygen atoms spread throughout the alloy enhancing its strength. Such alloys are excellent candidates to build aerospace parts for high-temperature applications, like those inside aircraft and rocket engines, because they can withstand harsher conditions before reaching their breaking points.

Current state-of-the-art 3D printed superalloys like Haynes, Hastelloy and Inconel can withstand temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Compared to those, GRX-810 is twice as strong, over 1,000 times more durable, and twice as resistant to oxidation.

NASA demonstrates ultra high heat GRX-810 alloy for 3D printing, an  ultra strong oxide dispersion-strengthened alloy
A cross-sectioned thrust chamber printed on a Velo3D Sapphire system in GRCop-42. The chamber walls contain internal channels for regenerative cooling.

“This new alloy is a major achievement,” said Dale Hopkins, deputy project manager of NASA’s Transformational Tools and Technologies project. “In the very near future, it may well be one of the most successful technology patents NASA Glenn has ever produced.”

Many will remember that in 2019 NASA was also behind the development of GRCop-42, a high-strength, high-conductivity copper-based alloy, that was created by a team from the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Alabama and the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) in Ohio.

This copper alloy has since become widely used in AM by various companies (including notably Velo3D) to produce near-fully-dense 3D printed parts such as combustion chamber liners and fuel injectors.

A team of contributors from Glenn, NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and The Ohio State University co-authored the Nature paper.

GRX-810 was developed under NASA’s Transformational Tools and Technologies project, with support from the agency’s Game Changing Development Program.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites and, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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