A Method for Evaluating the Quality of 3D-Printing Metal Parts
Russian president demanded that exports of Russian gas to "unfriendly" countries be settled in rubles. The demand has raised concerns in Germany about possible supply disruptions and the impact on industry and households if utilities do not pay in robles. Europe gets about 40% of its gas from Russia. Last year, Europe imported about 155 billion cubic meters. Germany, Europe's largest economy, depends heavily on Russian gas.
The chief executive of Germany's E.ON said the German economy would face "significant damage, which should be avoided if possible" without Russian supplies. He also said it would take Germany three years to wean itself off Russian gas.
In the event of a supply disruption, Germany's gas network regulator would prioritize home heating over industrial use, so energy-hungry manufacturers such as steelmakers would be the first to suffer, he said.
The volatile international situations will continue to affect the markets and prices of many commodities like the 3D printing metal powder.
Researchers at NTU Singapore have developed a fast and low-cost imaging method for assessing the quality of 3D-printed metal parts. This method can analyze the structure and material quality of 3D-printed metal parts.
Most 3D-printed metal alloys consist of numerous microscopic crystals that vary in shape, size, and orientation of the atomic lattice. By mapping this information, scientists and engineers can infer the alloy's properties, such as strength and toughness. It's like looking at wood grain. When wood grain is continuous in the same direction, strength and toughness are strongest.
The new technology could benefit the aerospace sector - enabling low-cost rapid assessment of turbines, fan blades, and other critical components, which is of great significance to the maintenance and overhaul industry.
Until now, however, analyzing the "microstructure" in 3D-printed metal alloys has been a time-consuming and laborious process, usually achieved using measurements made with scanning electron microscopes, which cost between S $100,000 and S $2 million.
But the new alloy imaging method developed by Assistant Professor Matteo Seita and his team at NTU provides quality analysis in just a few minutes. They used a system of optical cameras, flashlights, and laptops that ran proprietary machine learning software developed by the team at a total cost of about $25,000.
The method involves treating the metal surface with chemicals to reveal its microstructure, then holding the sample facing the camera and using a flashlight to illuminate the metal in different directions to take multiple optical images. The software then analyzes the patterns produced by the light reflected off the surfaces of different metal crystals and deduces their orientation. The whole process takes about 15 minutes. The team's findings have been published in NPJ Computational Materials.
"By using our low-cost and fast imaging method, we can easily tell the difference between good 3D-printed metal parts and defective parts. Currently, it is impossible to tell the difference unless we evaluate the microstructure of the materials in detail, "explained Seita, an assistant professor at NTU's School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and School of Materials Science and Engineering.
"Even though two 3D-printed metal parts may be produced using the same technology and have the same geometry, they are never the same. In theory, this is similar to how two originally identical wooden objects could have different texture structures."
New imaging methods improve 3D printing certification and quality assessment. Assistant Professor Seita believes their innovative imaging method could simplify the certification and quality assessment of metal alloy parts produced by 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing.
One of the most common techniques for 3D printing metal parts is to use high-powered lasers to melt metal powders and fuse them layer by layer until a complete product is printed.
However, the microstructure, and thus the quality of the printed metal, depends on many factors, including the speed or strength of the laser, how long the metal cools before the next layer is melted, and even the type and brand of metal powder used. This is why the same design printed by two different machines or production plants may result in parts of different quality.
Instead of using a complex computer program to measure crystal orientation in the light signals collected, the "smart software" developed by Assistant Professor Seita and his team uses a neural network to simulate how the human brain forms associations and processes thoughts. The team then used machine learning to program the software to feed it hundreds of optical images.
Their software eventually learned how to predict the orientation of crystals in metal from an image, depending on how light scatters from the metal's surface. A complete "crystal orientation diagram" is then created, which provides comprehensive information about crystal shape, size, and atomic lattice orientation.
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The latest poll by CSA for consumer finance company Cofidis shows the French are taking action to trim their budgets as inflation erodes household purchasing power.
According to Le Figaro, the poll shows that French people think they need to earn an average of 490 euros more a month in order to live a decent life. This is an increase of 23 euros compared to the purchasing power barometer published in September 2021. Amid inflation and international tensions, this average in the polls masks differences among households, with some social groups much more severely affected by the decline in purchasing power than others. Seventy-eight percent of single-parent households, 76 percent of 25-to 34-year-olds, and 72 percent of blue-collar workers said the international situation had had a negative impact on their personal finances, compared with 64 percent of all French people.
In response to rising prices, soaring energy, and food prices, in particular, the French government is preparing to launch a package of measures designed to increase the purchasing power, such as extending the energy price protection mechanism, the extension of the fuel discount measures, and more targeted alternative measures, will be distributed inflation-linked pension and social security benefits, check the "food" and so on.
Because of the soaring energy prices, the 3D printing metal powder price is predicted to rise in the future.