Ames Laboratory awarded USD 5M from AMO

Ames Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have recently been awarded USD 5M from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) to improve the production and composition of metal alloy powders used in additive manufacturing.

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, has reached a widespread measure of success in manufacturing processes using polymers, or plastics. But the use of metal alloys for additive manufacturing has lagged due to lack of both materials and process development.

“There’s a lot of intense interest focused on additive manufacturing with metal alloys, because there are so many potential applications,” said Iver Anderson, project leader and senior metallurgist at Ames Laboratory and adjunct professor in Materials Science and Engineering Department at Iowa State University. “Industry has demands for prototyping parts, design development, reducing waste of expensive materials, and efficiently producing custom and legacy components for their customers.”

The project will improve powder production by developing advances in a high pressure gas atomization process pioneered at Ames Laboratory and will design and customize alloys specifically for additive manufacturing processing methods. The Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) partners with industry, small business, universities, and other stakeholders to identify and invest in emerging technologies with the potential to create high-quality domestic manufacturing jobs and enhance the global competitiveness of the United States.