Researchers from Caltech have been delving into novel methods for controlling porosity in copper-based alloys through additive manufacturing. Their study, published in the Journal of Porous Materials, focuses on parameter-induced porosity in Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB). This technique, already proven effective for other alloys, had not been explored for copper-based ones.
In their investigation, the team examined the processing of copper, bronze, and brass samples to understand the relationship between PBF-LB parameters, resulting porosity, and material properties. They successfully demonstrated control over porosity levels, ranging from 23.5% to 47.9% for copper, 0.8% to 55.3% for bronze, and 8.0% to 50.2% for brass.
This research is particularly significant for spacecraft applications where tunable copper porous architectures are required for specific electrical, thermal, and catalytic properties. Traditional AM techniques often struggle to achieve sub-millimeter porosity, but this study opens new avenues for generating intricate porous structures.
The findings demonstrate the importance of parameter selection in AM processes, showing how it directly influences material properties. Further electrical and mechanical characterization has highlighted the impact of porosity on bulk material behavior.
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