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New Approach to Additive Manufacturing – Using a Gas to Create Thin-Walled Metal Parts

Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) has been awarded a patent for "Additive Manufacturing Using Metals from the Gaseous State," a concept that advances the already state-of-the-art additive manufacturing (3D) process.

To achieve this accomplishment, CTC engineers applied an established process that is more than a century old and is currently used commercially to extract metals from ore. The U.S. patent protects the intellectual property that uniquely leverages the Mond process to effectively create thin-wall parts with precise thickness and complex geometry on substrates of arbitrary shape and controlled temperature distribution.

Additive manufacturing (AM) refers to depositing layers of solid material to create a three-dimensional object from computer-generated designs. CTC's patented concept uses a gas (carbon monoxide) that reacts with any of 18 different metals to form a more complex gas at elevated temperatures. The metal then deposits on hotter substrates that define the shape of the finished component. This action frees up the carbon monoxide for reuse in reacting with additional metallic atoms and continuing the additive process.

"This is a different approach for additive manufacturing," said Edward J. Sheehan, Jr., Concurrent Technologies Corporation President and CEO. "Our engineers creatively applied a basic metallurgical theory for the manufacture of a real part. Their work illustrates the innovative solutions that CTC's engineers, scientists, and other professionals create to help our clients achieve their goals."

This patented process complements other forms of AM and effectively produces seamless, thin-walled, metallic components. Thin-walled components (including those with arbitrary shapes and without internal support structures) are challenging to produce with most other forms of AM.

The inventors are Juan Valencia, Ph.D., Advisor Engineer; Mike Tims, Advisor Engineer; and former CTC employee Joe Pickens.

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