Expert Insight

Novel Ceramic Dispersion Strengthened Refractory Metals for Improved Printability and Properties

Refractory metals and alloys are of major interest for nuclear fusion systems, space nuclear power and propulsion, and hypersonic applications due to their desirable properties at elevated temperatures (>1500°C). Limitations of refractory materials include their low ductility, poor oxidation resistance, and high manufacture cost using traditional techniques.

Additive manufacturing (AM) can reduce material waste associated with manufacture, but AM fabrication is impacted by the brittleness of these refractory metals, resulting in excessive cracking during printing. Cracking reduces the effectiveness of hot isostatic pressing (HIP) which is commonly used to improve density and mechanical properties of AM components. The goal of this work is to improve refractory metal printability without majorly affecting the material properties which are the main reason these materials are used. Ceramic nanoparticles have been shown to help improve material properties after heat treatment. Results will be shown that demonstrate the effectiveness of adding nanoparticles to refractory metals. Additionally, there will be discussion regarding how these nanoparticles change the effect of heat treatments such as HIP compared with the AM pure metal samples.

The speaker is:
Carly Romnes, Aerospace Engineer, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center


  • Offshore and marine