Tungsten is a dense, robust metal that has many valuable applications, especially in the chemical industry because of its corrosion resistance.However, its hardness and extremely high melting point make it a difficult material for 3D printing.
Depending on the process conditions, the bulk density and optically determined densities of the tungsten ranged from 94 to 98%, but the parts showed micro cracks and defects due to micro- and macro-scale residual stress.
Two types of tungsten specimens were 3D printed, and were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy. Although the parts were prone to cracking, the researchers determined that the density and quality of the specimens produced in the 3D printing process were sufficiently high for use in applications such as medical radiation shielding and nuclear imaging, and in other plasma facing environments. They also concluded that the parameters for laser powder bed fusion could be tailored to fabricate tungsten parts with relatively high densities.
3D printing tungsten allows for new applied materials because it can produce parts with high levels of precision and complexity.Tungsten 3-d printing has been studied by other researchers before, and even commercialized tungsten parts. Despite its challenges, tungsten has proved to be a valuable 3D printing material, and many experts are particularly excited about its heat resistance.