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Two-day workshop at Colorado School of Mines: Aug. 26–27
Register Now
How Does Radiation Affect
Additive Parts? 

Jeff King and team explore radiation’s impact on additively manufactured stainless steel and Inconel

The use of additive manufacturing (AM) for mission-critical applications is often limited due to a lack of characterization and property data, which is necessary to meet quality assurance requirements. The nuclear industry is no exception. Data is needed on the performance of AM parts during irradiation in a nuclear reactor to ensure that they can survive and function as intended in challenging nuclear energy environments.

Dr. Jeffrey King and his team at Colorado School of Mines are collecting irradiation performance data for stainless steel (SS) and Inconel samples from billets produced using different AM techniques, including laser powder bed fusion, laser free-form fabrication, and electron beam wire feed. Mines is conducting pre-irradiation thermomechanical testing (tensile strength, yield strength, elastic modulus, ductility, thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity) and microstructural characterization of the unirradiated specimens. Mines is uniquely positioned to research this area with its strong materials background and interdisciplinary nuclear program as well as with the work of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Center (NuSEC) and ADAPT.
 
“We’re not the first to do this, but we’re close,” said King. Bombarding metals with neutrons causes physical changes, typically making metals harder but more brittle, or more likely to break suddenly. King’s research examines how additively manufactured parts might perform in a reactor environment compared to conventional parts. “We hope to show AM materials where strength goes up or stays the same and ductility does not go down,” noted King.
 
AM could benefit the nuclear industry in several ways. Additive processes could be used to create novel geometries for components that improve reactor performance, such as filters or fuel elements. Additionally, given that most nuclear plants are decades old, there are critical parts, such as valves, that are no longer made and that are expensive to replace. This issue is also common in the military, as investigated in ADAPT’s hinge redesign program with the U.S. Army’s CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center (previously named TARDEC). AM could enable single replacements of reactor parts to be made at reasonable cost with short turnaround time. Read more about the project »

Member Corner

Details for the July 10 Members Meeting:
The ADAPT July Members Meeting will include a one-hour tour of Elementum 3D beginning at 1:30 (400 Young Ct., Erie, CO 80516) followed by a summer social at The Old Mine (500 Briggs St., Erie). Food and drinks provided.


GE Aviation invests in widespread rollout of GE Additive Arcam EBM technology to support GE9X blade production. Read more »
Lockheed Martin and NASA successfully demonstrate Orion launch abort system in flight test. Read more »
Moog's 6-DOF motion systems for 4D dynamic cinema in Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis put into commercial operation. 
Read more »
Members: This is your space to share links to press releases, announcements or upcoming events! Just send an email to adapt@mines.edu with the relevant information and links, and we will feature your content in upcoming newsletters.
Interested in joining ADAPT? Visit our site for more information on the benefits of membership and how to join!

Events

July 10: Monthly Members Meeting: Tour at Elementum 3D & Summer Social
Aug. 26–27: Optimize for AdditiveSM Workshop Register Now
Sept. 11: Monthly Members Meeting: R&D project updates from students & faculty
Researcher of the Month

Ryan Collette, a PhD candidate in the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering department, is conducting an atomistic modeling and transmission electron microscopy study on the stability of the subgrain cellular structures of additively manufactured materials during neutron irradiation. The intent is to see if, and under what conditions, the enhanced strength and ductility seen in AM steels and Inconels continues when those materials are placed in a nuclear reactor. The discovery of enhanced strength/ductility in AM steels and Inconels is relatively new. Ryan's work will be some of the first work to test neutron irradiation of those materials. Additionally, he and Dr. Behnam Amin-Ahmadi have identified some nanoscale structures in heat treated AM stainless steel that have not been previously documented. The structure in question is an ordered arrangement of dislocations that appears similar in form to a chain-link fence. It occurs during heat treatment of the material as the dislocation-rich walls of the subgrain cellular structures relax to a lower energy state. This finding may provide some insight regarding the sustainable benefits of the cellular structures over long-term exposure to heat and radiation. Ryan hopes to complete his doctoral work by May 2020. His advisor is Dr. Jeffrey King.

The Advanced Manufacturing Program is now registering MS Non-Thesis and Certificate students for the 2019–2020 academic year. Learn more at manufacturing.mines.edu, or contact Craig Brice, program director, at craigabrice@mines.edu.
Apply Now
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