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Researchers from NASA have developed and 3D printed a new copper-based alloy for use in rocket propulsion components.
GRCop-42, a high strength, high conductivity copper-based alloy, was created by a team from the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Alabama and the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) in Ohio.
Result - Metal - Powder - Parts - Combustion
The result metal powder used to produce near-fully-dense 3D printed parts such as combustion chamber liners and fuel injector faceplates with a Concept Laser M2 3D printer, a Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) AM system.
As detailed in the review published in the NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), in 2014, NASA engineers commenced the development of GRCop-84, the predecessor of GRCop-42, to establish more readily available powder suppliers for combustion chamber based hardware.
Hot-fire - Tests - Components - MSFC - Team
Following hot-fire tests of 3D printed GRCop-84 components at MSFC in 2016 and 2017, the team began developing GRCop-42 for higher thermal conductivity at similar strength; this would also allow for components within propulsion engines that “exceed their traditionally manufactured predecessors”, stated the researchers.
Throughout 2018, the NASA team conducted tests of the metal power, proving its processability through metal additive manufacturing. The researchers explain, “The rationale for choosing this machine is primarily that it was used in the GRCop-84 development and had proven itself ‘copper friendly’. With its inert glovebox and build chamber, and the 400 W...
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