3D Printing Industry reports on 7A77, apparently the world’s strongest additive aluminum.
Specifically, this “Aluminum 7A77.60L powder” was developed by California’s HRL Laboratories. According to HRL Laboratories’ Chief Metallurgist Hunter Martin, PhD, “HRL’s 7A77 is the first wrought equivalent high strength aluminum alloy available for additive manufacturing with strengths in excess of 600 MPa. This strength provides exceptional design freedom for high performance application not yet explored in additive.”
This 7A77 aluminum powder, which has been commercially available since October of 2019, is also being used in certain industrial applications. For example, “NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has begun applying the material to the production of large-scale aerospace components. Now, working with 3D design and engineering software company nTopology and aerospace manufacturing service provider Morf3D, HRL has built an application presenting 7A77’s potential in heat transfer and flow applications.”
HRL and its partners have “harnessed the innate thermal conductivity of 7A77’s aluminum content and have built a generatively designed fuel cooled oil cooler for aerospace applications. In this design, the strength of the alloy is used to meet critical burst pressure requirements while maximizing the exchange of heat with walls thinner than those achieved with conventional AlSiMg. The high yield strength of 7A77 allows heat exchanger designers to reduce wall thickness by 50%, effectively doubling the heat transfer performance of a heat exchanger simply by changing the material.”
“By coupling HRL’s high strength aluminum with generative design, nTopology was able to increase the heat transfer rate of the design by 300%.”
As Dr. Martin concludes: “HRL’s high strength aluminum alloy means flow structures like manifolds, or in this case a topological gyroid heat exchanger, can be manufactured with thinner walls producing lighter weight components and higher performance.”
Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry