The BEAMIT Group has developed an additive manufacturing process for Ti6242 Titanium alloy. According to the company, the motorsport sector has been looking at 3D-printed Titanium alloys for high-temperature applications since 2019. Before then, conventional technologies, such as forging were the dominant means of production.
Ti6242 is resistant to high temperatures: the alloy produced by additive manufacturing has a tensile strength of up to 1000 MPa and a density of 4.5 g/cm3.
Although some materials used to produce motorsport and automotive components achieve similar levels of tensile strength as Ti6242, they are heavier. Using the Titanium alloy reduces the weight without losing any of the strength. So many components made for motorsport applications can benefit from this material, like exhausts formerly made with nickel superalloys.
The composition of Ti6242 produced by additive manufacturing is also for components made for the aeronautical sector where its use is gradually becoming more widespread. The first titanium alloys were developed at the end of the World War II for use at high temperatures and to replace nickel superalloys in supersonic aircraft engines.
The first step for BEAMIT was an in-depth study to see which of these alloys could be processed by additive manufacturing with laser powder bed fusion, and Ti6242 produced the best performance.
The aim was to optimize the material’s mechanical properties at temperature. “Development of the Ti6242 process began in 2019 as part of a thesis project in collaboration with Politecnico di Milano university,” says Alessandro Rizzi, BEAMIT Group Materials and Special Process Manager. “The material adapted perfectly to laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), but our real focus was on the heat treatments. We devised different vacuum cycles to optimize its mechanical properties at room temperature and at high temperatures and also developed the integrated high-pressure heat treatment process.”
The result was a 3D-printed component that performed better than components forged with conventional technologies. This proves that successfully processing materials with additive manufacturing enhances sustainability, as the additive process uses only what is needed, with the remaining powder recycled for future projects.