Illinois Patent of the Month – November 2023

QuesTek Innovations LLC, a pioneer in Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME), has recently been granted a patent for their auto tempering steels for additive manufacturing.

The key element of these alloys lies in their composition. By harnessing a blend of carbon, nickel, manganese, chromium, and iron alongside several other elements in precise proportions, these alloys achieve a unique balance that ensures high performance and structural integrity.

One of the standout aspects of QuesTek’s alloys is their suitability for additive manufacturing. The atomized alloy powder they have developed serves as a fundamental building block in the creation of these innovative materials. The atomized alloy powder consists of alloy particles with a specific weight composition that guarantees optimal performance in the additive manufacturing process.

What makes these alloys truly exceptional is the ability to forego post-processing heat treatments, a process commonly required for many additive manufacturing parts. The as-built condition of these alloys has been meticulously engineered to meet high-performance requirements, saving time and costs. This is achieved by leveraging rapid solidification effects and intricate thermal cycles undergone during the AM process.

A critical facet of these alloys is their incredible strength and toughness in their as-printed condition. Their martensitic microstructure, reinforced by nanoscale carbides, allows for superior properties without the need for secondary heat treatments. This auto-tempering effect during the cooling cycle further enhances their strength and toughness, setting them apart from conventional materials.

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