Artificial intelligence aids materials fabrication (US)

Elsa Olivetti, the Atlantic Richfield Assistant Professor of Energy Studies in MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE).

System could pore through millions of research papers to extract “recipes” for producing materials.

In recent years, research efforts such as the Materials Genome Initiative and the Materials Project have produced a wealth of computational tools for designing new materials useful for a range of applications, from energy and electronics to aeronautics and civil engineering. But developing processes for producing those materials has continued to depend on a combination of experience, intuition, and manual literature reviews. A team of researchers Continue reading

Bohler wants to secure cobalt supply for the next 10 years (US)

Austrian specialty steel firm Boehler wants to buy cobalt in a year-long contract rather than buying monthly, two industry sources said on Friday, as rising demand from electric car makers has complicated its normal purchase patterns. Demand for cobalt, a key component of rechargeable batteries, is expected to soar in coming years as governments battle pollution and more electric cars are built. German carmaker Volkswagen asked producers last month to submit proposals for supplies for up to 10 years from 2019.  Boehler, aunit of Vienna-listed Continue reading

Researchers achieve breakthrough in 3-D printed marine grade stainless steel (US)

LLNL materials scientist Joe McKeown looks on as postdoc researcher Thomas Voisin examines a sample of 3D printed stainless steel.; Researchers say the ability to 3D print marine grade, low-carbon stainless steel (316L) could have widespread implications for industries such as aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas.

“Marine grade” stainless steel is valued for its performance under corrosive environments and for its high ductility—the ability to bend without breaking under stress—making it a preferred choice for oil pipelines, welding, kitchen utensils, chemical equipment, medical implants, engine parts and nuclear waste storage. However, conventional techniques for strengthening this class of stainless steels typically comes at the expense of ductility. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, along with collaborators at Ames National Laboratory, Georgia Tech University and Oregon State University, have achieved a breakthrough in 3-D printing one of the most common forms of marine grade stainless steel—a low-carbon type called 316L—that promises an unparalleled combination of high-strength and high-ductility properties for the ubiquitous alloy. The research appears online Oct. 30 in the journal Nature Materials .

“In order to make all the components you’re trying to print useful, you need to have this material property at least the same as those made by traditional metallurgy,” said LLNL materials scientist and lead author Morris Wang. “We were able to 3-D print real components in the lab with 316L stainless steel, and the material’s performance was actually better than those made with the traditional approach. That’s really a big jump. It makes additive manufacturing very attractive and fills a major gap.”

Wang said the methodology could open the floodgates to widespread 3-D printing of such stainless steel components, particularly in the aerospace, automotive and oil and gas industries, where strong and tough materials are needed to tolerate extreme force in harsh environments.

To successfully meet, and exceed, the necessary performance requirements for 316L stainless steel, researchers first had to overcome a major bottleneck limiting the potential for 3-D printing high-quality metals, the porosity caused during the laser melting (or fusion) of metal powders that can cause parts to degrade and fracture easily. Researchers addressed this through a density optimization process involving experiments and computer modeling, and by manipulating the materials’ underlying microstructure.

“This microstructure we developed breaks the traditional strength-ductility tradeoff barrier,” Wang said. “For steel, you want to make it stronger, but you lose ductility essentially; you can’t have both. But with 3-D printing, we’re able to move this boundary beyond the current tradeoff.”

Using two different laser powder bed fusion machines, researchers printed thin plates of stainless steel 316L for mechanical testing. The laser melting technique inherently resulted in hierarchical cell-like structures that could be tuned to alter the mechanical properties, researchers said.

“The key was doing all the characterization and looking at the properties we were getting,” said LLNL scientist Alex Hamza, who oversaw production of some additively manufactured components. “When you additively manufacture 316L it creates an interesting grain structure, sort of like a stained-glass window. The grains are not very small, but the cellular structures and other defects

LLNL postdoc researcher Thomas Voisin, a key contributor to the paper, has performed extensive characterizations of 3-D printed metals since joining the Lab in 2016. He believes the research could provide new insights on the structure-property relationship of additively manufactured materials.

“Deformation of metals is mainly controlled by how nanoscale defects move and interact in the microstructure,” Voisin said. “Interestingly, we found that this cellular structure acts such as a filter, allowing some defects to move freely and thus provide the necessary ductility while blocking some others to provide the strength. Observing these mechanisms and understanding their complexity now allows us to think of new ways to control the mechanical properties of these 3-D printed materials.”

Wang said the project benefitted from years of simulation, modeling and experimentation performed at the Lab in 3-D printing of metals to understand the link between microstructure and mechanical properties. He called stainless steel a “surrogate material” system that could be used for other types of metals.

The eventual goal, he said, is to use high-performance computing to validate and predict future performance of stainless steel, using models to control the underlying microstructure and discover how to make high-performance steels, including the corrosion-resistance. Researchers will then look at employing a similar strategy with other lighter weight alloys that are more brittle and prone to cracking.

The work took several years and required the contributions of the Ames Lab, which did X-ray diffraction to understand material performance; Georgia Tech, which performed modeling to understand how the material could have high strength and high ductility, and Oregon State, which performed characterization and composition analysis.

Source :

THE FUTURE OF MATERIALS SUMMIT- November 13th – 14th 2017 | Luxembourg (US)

Innovations such as 3D printing, robotics, extreme customisation and high-performance computing are just some of the elements that will shape the future of manufacturing. But nothing will impact how things are made, and what they are capable of, more than the materials manufacturers use.

Advancements in material science are at a turning point. From programmable matter to smart polymers Continue reading

Severstal introduces Artificial Intelligence to prevent failures at hot rolling mill (US)

Cherepovets Steel Mill, one of the world’s largest integrated steel plants (part of Severstal’s Russian Steel division), has launched the commercial operation of a digital predictive model to prevent failures at the hot rolling mill 2000 and thereby reduce its downtime. This model calculates the probability and risk of the pinion stand bearings overheating, which is one of the most frequent and costly causes of unit shutdown. This is the first predictive Continue reading

Boeing Invests in Gamma Alloys a supplier of reinforced aluminum alloys (US)

CHICAGO, Nov. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced its investment in Valencia, Calif.-based Gamma Alloys, a leader in aluminum alloys focused on developing advanced metal-matrix composites for use in aerospace, automotive and other industries. This investment by Boeing HorizonX Ventures, which was established earlier this year, is its first in advanced materials and machining development and applications. “The wear, strength, durability and machining characteristics of Gamma’s materials have the opportunity to further reduce the weight ofContinue reading

Greg Mulholland, the founder and CEO of the machine learning materials startup Citrine Informatics (US)

Greg Mulholland is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Citrine Informatics, the data analytics platform for materials and chemicals. He works with partners along the materials value chain to use state of the art data science techniques to identify areas of improvement and optimization in advanced materials discovery, product design, and manufacturing. He has co-authored 20 peer-reviewed publications in materials science andContinue reading

TimkenSteel to Increase Annual Heat-Treat Capacity by 50,000 Tons (US)

TimkenSteel’s advanced quench-and-temper facility provides 50,000 process tons of additional quench-and-temper capacity to improve delivery times of thermal-treated bars and tubes and meet strong market needs. Above, a 12.284-inch OD x 1.614-inch-wall seamless mechanical tube is shown…

CANTON, OhioNov. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — TimkenSteel (NYSE: TMST,, a leader in customized alloy steel products and services, has brought its newest thermal-treatment asset, the advanced quench-and-temper facility, online and has begun processing customer orders. The addition of the $40 million facility, located at the company’s Gambrinus Steel Plant in Canton, Ohio, increases TimkenSteel’s existing quench-and-temper capacity by 50,000 tons or 45 percent and brings the company’s total annual thermal-treatment capacityContinue reading

ATI and Tsingshan to Form Stainless Steel Joint Venture (US)

ATI and Tsingshan to Form Innovative Stainless Steel Joint Venture

  • Two Global Innovators to Form Joint Venture
  • Tsingshan’s Vertical Integration Provides Reduced Raw Materials Cost Volatility
  • Conversion Agreement Expected to Significantly Increase ATI’s HRPF Utilization
  • JV’s DRAP Finishing Facility to Restart; Adds 100 Jobs
  • JV Provides a Highly Competitive and Uniquely Differentiated Offering
  • Another Action to Position ATI’s FRP Business for Sustainable Profitability

November 02, 2017  – PITTSBURGH—Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (NYSE: ATI) today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to form an innovative 50-50 joint venture (JV) with an affiliate company of Tsingshan Group (Tsingshan). Tsingshan is vertically integrated and is the world’s largest stainless steel producer. Formation of the JV is subject to customary regulatory and anti-trust clearances, which are expected by the Continue reading

Nu-Tech a major North American manufacturer of seamless titanium pipe and tube (US

These are seamless copper tubes that Nu-Tech extruded, then the plug end and the flange end are electron beam welded on each end of the tube. The tube is part of a set of matching tubes (usually in groups of 12 or 14) that are put vertically, side by side, into a glass coating machine. Sheets of glass pass by these tubes and they rotate at a very fast pace and in conjunction with magnetization, fine particles of the copper “sputter” off to coat the sheets of glass as they pass through the machine. These large sheets of glass are used in Smart TVs, smart phones, touch screens, etc.

The unique welding capabilities of Nu-Tech Precision Metals have helped to garner the shop an Ontario Export Award

In an era of fierce domestic and international competition, Nu-Tech Precision Metals of Arnprior, Ont., has built its success on providing what few others can. Nu-Tech is a major North American manufacturer of seamless titanium pipe and tube, and it offers numerous specialized services to its customers in Canada and abroad.

In an era of fierce domestic and international competition, Nu-Tech Precision Metals of Arnprior, Ont., has built its success on providing what few others can.

Nu-Tech is a major North American manufacturer of seamless titanium pipe and tube, and it offers numerous specialized services to its customers in Canada and abroad. Recently, its international success was recognized with a 2016 Ontario Export Award, a development that puts the company alongside others in various economic sectors that are also deftly navigating the global marketplace.

Nuclear Pioneer

In addition to being able to produce standard and non-standard pipe sizes in just about any alloy, Nu-Tech is the sole supplier of zirconium alloy pressure tubes for Canada’s nuclear industry.



“Our base business is the nuclear industry and from the company’s start in the mid-1950s as the R&D division of a large American brass manufacturer, we’ve made all the pressure tubes that form the core of every CANDU (CANada Deuterium Uranium) nuclear reactor in the world,” explained President George Legate. “As the nuclear industry requires intensive quality assurance and thus high overhead costs, it has made sense to diversify into other markets that have similar demands, namely the aircraft, defence, medical and electronics sectors.”

Indeed, Nu-Tech was an industry pioneer in developing a process to extrude zirconium and titanium into pipes and other shapes. The company also produces titanium-clad copper and platinum-clad titanium conductor bars for corrosive environments. It has also gained worldwide recognition as a trusted manufacturer of fabricated and welded components using copper-based and nickel-based alloys, niobium, hafnium, tantalum, beryllium and steel. The firm’s large machine shop and metal finishing department provide secondary operations such as cold drawing, honing, and centreless grinding.

Electron Beam Welding

In 1997 Nu-Tech purchased its first electron beam welder, and remains to this day Canada’s only commercial electron beam welding facility, with the capability to weld tubes and pipes up to 30 feet long. The firm later added a second, larger welder, and to ensure ongoing reliability, both machines were completely rebuilt about eight years ago.

“It was essentially a full replacement of components, to make them like new,” said Legate. “The process took about a year and involved shutdowns of the welders in stages. It was necessary as the maintenance of these machines is extremely specialized and there are long delays if there is a breakdown.”

As Nu-Tech’s website explains, electron beam welding (EBW) is a high-energy fusion welding process that uses an intense, narrow beam of electrons. Using high voltage, the electrons are accelerated to between 1/3 and 3/4 the speed of light, creating a highly concentrated energy beam. This narrow beam can be used to create deeply penetrating, narrow welds between metal parts.

Unlike other fusion welding processes, EBW permits the joining of similar and dissimilar metals and materials without the risk of contamination from oxygen or nitrogen.

Specialized Business

Being able to offer a range of niche welding capabilities has enabled the company to secure large projects involving both fabrication and the supply of raw materials. Legate gives one example in which Nu-Tech was awarded a contract to supply all the plutonium transport piping for a facility being built to convert plutonium into nuclear reactor fuel. Having the ability, he noted, to weld to nuclear standards allowed Nu-Tech to quote both the material, which was the majority of the order, as well as the welded components. “The fact that the client could source the entire contract with one supplier greatly assisted in securing the deal,” he said.

Another example involves the supply of sputtering tubes made of pure copper. The heavy-wall tubes, 2 meters in length, are used inside vacuum chambers to deposit the circuitry of smart TVs and plasma displays. Legate explained that because copper is extremely thermally conductive and the surface finish of the tubes is critical, EBW was the only way to weld the finished machined components together. Nu-Tech employees extruded and machined the tubes, and then used EBW for assembly.

Since the company became a separate entity in 1960, there have been many changes, but Legate said one that stands out is the procurement of raw materials. “It has become extremely regimented, and quality control in general has really tightened up,” he said. “This is the way the aircraft, defense and nuclear industries function. We have to continuously justify why we are using the suppliers we’re using and that our materials meet quality requirements of various industry and governmental agencies. While our high overhead costs and quality culture restricted our competitiveness and left us with diversification possibilities only in high-end markets like aerospace and defence, we are fortunate that these markets – along with our domestic nuclear market – are all extremely strong right now.”

Nu-Tech won the 2016 Ontario Export Award in the Manufacturing & Resources category, medium size division. The awards are organized every year by, part of Annex Business Media, and are supported by HSBC Bank Canada, SYSPRO Canada, and many other sponsors. Legate said he appreciates the way the award helps secure new business. “In Europe, for example, we’ll get asked if we export a lot and how long we’ve exported,” he noted, “and we say ‘Yes, we export all the time; about half our business is export to about 21 different countries, and hey, we just won this provincial export award.’ And so it’s another thing to add to the mix in terms of our credibility.”

In Legate’s opinion, one of Nu-Tech’s more important keys to success is having experienced employees.

“We have great applicants, we do a lot of training, and we want to keep people,” he said. “We have great relationships with our employees, which means we can concentrate on growing the business. We have a full-scale ball hockey rink inside the plant and a fitness facility, and we run various events throughout the year to show appreciation for our workers. We make it a place people want to come to.”

Source :