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- Manufacturing of structural metal parts directly from computer aided design (CAD) data has been investigated by numerous researchers over the past decade. Researchers at NASA Langley REsearch Center are developing a new solid freeform fabrication process, electron beam freeform fabrication (EBF), as a rapid metal deposition process that works efficiently with a variety of weldable alloys. The EBF process introduces metal wire feedstock into a molten pool that is created and sustained using a focused electron beam in a vacuum environment. Thus far, this technique has been demonstrated on aluminum and titanium alloys of interest for aerospace structural applications nickel and ferrous based alloys are also planned. Deposits resulting from 2219 aluminum demonstrations have exhibited a range of grain morphologies depending upon the deposition parameters. These materials ave exhibited excellent tensile properties comparable to typical handbook data for wrought plate product after post-processing heat treatments. The EBF process is capable of bulk metal deposition at deposition rated in excess of 2500 cubic centimeters per hour (150 cubic inches per our) or finer detail at lower deposition rates, depending upon the desired application. This process offers the potential for rapidly adding structural details to simpler cast or forged structures rather than the conventional approach of machining large volumes of chips to produce a monolithic metallic structure. Selective addition of metal onto simpler blanks of material can have a significant effect on lead time reduction and lower material and machining costs.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20040042496.
3rd Annual Automotive Composites Conference; 9-10 Sep. 2003; Troy, MI; United States.
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