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3-D Printed Object
Metals and Materials Processing

Inerting for Additive Manufacturing

Expert solutions to help you succeed

In the world of rapid prototyping and production of metal components, it is imperative to have the proper gas atmosphere to produce quality parts. To meet the metallurgical and dimensional quality standards required in 3D printing, argon and nitrogen are commonly used to provide inert atmospheres. Using sufficient flow rate and purge duration helps to avoid undesired chemical reactions and thermal deformation of consolidated parts, as well as ensure a safe production environment.

Air Products has extensive applications knowledge in surface/bulk treatment of metals to help additive manufacturers optimize the gas selection, supply mode, and purity for improved part processing.

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Ask the Expert

Guido Plicht
Guido Plicht

Commercial Technology Manager - Europe

How does gas affect the quality of my additive manufacturing process?

As with other traditional methods of prototyping and manufacturing metal parts, the proper gas atmosphere is critical for producing quality products. Nitrogen and argon are commonly used to provide inert atmospheres during additive manufacturing. It is important to use the correct flow rate and purge duration to avoid deformed parts and ensure a safe production environment. For example, high oxygen content in the atmosphere will result in oxidation of the powder metal leading to poor part quality, clumping in the powder feed, or high porosity in the end product. It will also reduce the amount of recyclable powder for future use. Inerting is also critical for proper management of the combustible dust arising from the powder metal and printing process. Post treatments after printing may require industrial gases, depending on the application.

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