Jan Schroers, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale University and Desktop Metal, Inc., in Burlington, Massachusetts, USA, along with colleagues point out that 3D printing of thermoplastics is highly advanced, but the 3D printing of metals is still challenging and limited. The reason being that metals generally don’t exist in a state that they can be readily extruded.
“We have shown theoretically in this work that we can use a range of other bulk metallic glasses and are working on making the process more practical- and commercially-usable to make 3D printing of metals as easy and practical as the 3D printing of thermoplastics,” said Prof. Schroers.
Unlike conventional metals, bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) have a super-cooled liquid region in their thermodynamic profile and are able to undergo continuous softening upon heating — a phenomenon that is present in thermoplastics, but not conventional metals. Prof. Schroers and colleagues have thus shown that BMGs can be used in 3D printing to generate solid, high-strength metal components under ambient conditions of the kind used in thermoplastic 3D printing.
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