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Advancing Magnesium Additive Manufacturing

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) will collaborate with researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) to develop additive manufactured lighter weight weapons components for soldiers. The team will optimize the process parameters for the AM of a high-strength magnesium alloy. The lightweight alloy was used to fabricate 24 micro-lattice structures via laser powder bed fusion, allowing the characterization of its compressive strength and failure modes. The expectations are high-strength alloy will eventually be used in future military parts.

Magnesium AM lattice structures by UCF and ARL researchers. (Courtesy of UCF)

The alloy is described as a high-strength casting alloy. The material can be used in temperatures of up to 300°C and boasts a tensile strength of 250MPa. By offering a blend of excellent mechanical properties with corrosion resistance, it has previously been used in helicopter transmission assemblies, aerospace engines, high-performance cars, and missiles. Coupled with AM, the material has the potential to eliminate the reliance of immediate supply chains, assisting soldiers in the field.

ARL encourages both industry and academia to utilize its Open Campus initiative. The Open Campus aims to leverage regional expertise to accelerate innovation. For the UCF project, ARL researchers will now work to evaluate the strain rate and ballistic properties of their magnesium AM parts. The team will also seek out new demonstration applications, such as ultra-lightweight unmanned aircraft and robotic ground vehicle components.

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