6K Additive, a division of 6K, has expanded its sustainable materials for additive manufacturing with the launch of new refractory metal powders, including tungsten, rhenium, tungsten/rhenium and niobium-based powders.
The sought after materials are in demand for defence, aerospace and medical uses where their high-temperature, high-strength qualities make them desirable.
Much to 6K’s mantra, the company promise the additive materials will be produced at an industrial scale using its own process.
6K Additive president Frank Roberts, said: “The leading defence organisations are not only looking for refractory materials like tungsten and rhenium, they are looking for it at production scale. The uniqueness of 6K’s UniMelt microwave plasma process, combined with the expertise of our operations team, has allowed us to manufacture production scale volumes for many of the refractory powders like tungsten and tungsten/rhenium.
“We have spheroidized the full spectrum of refractory powders including tantalum, niobium and molybdenum and we are ready to help organisations advance their applications with these materials.”
6K says that its UniMelt system is the world’s only microwave production-scale plasma system, with a highly uniform and precise plasma zone with zero contamination and high throughput production capabilities.\
Currently 6K’s state-of-the-art, 45,000 sq/ft powder production facility in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, USA produces Ti6Al4V (Grade 5 and Grade 23), SS316L and nickel superalloys Ni718 and Ni625 as commercially available powders, along with the announced refractory materials.
Alabama-based Quadrus Corporation recently used 6K Additive’s services for making spherical tungsten-rhenium they subsequently used to produce a non-eroding throat insert for a solid rocket motor nozzle.
“We have a focus on propulsion applications that require high-temperature, high-strength materials used in modern rocket nozzle applications. Our tungsten/rhenium powder spheroidized by 6K processed exceptionally well in our selective laser melting machines,” explained Joe Sims, director of the Quadrus Advanced Manufacturing Division.
“Having a reliable, trusted supply chain partner like 6K Additive for refractory materials is critical to our business and to our defense customers. Our powder quality requirements are extremely high and 6K Additive easily cleared that hurdle for us.”