Czech and Austrian scientists have joined forces and are working together to develop new magnesium alloys that will be useful for the production of lightweight parts and biomedical implants. Newly developed alloys should have better qualities than currently known commercial products, and scientists hope that they will also be cheaper and therefore more affordable. One of the first important steps in the project was the purchase of an atomizer for FME laboratories.
The international research project ReMaP started in 2020. Although there was a slight delay due to the pandemic, FME researchers are already working on the production of magnesium powder using the new atomizer, which they acquired for their laboratories at the NETME Center thanks to project funding. “We have had the device since August 2020, but its commissioning for magnesium materials proved to be a real challenge. The manufacturer has an atomizer tested on aluminum or titanium alloys, but did not use it for magnesium alloys yet,” explains FME research leader Daniel Koutný.
The atomizer can, in layman’s terms, make small balls the size of a micrometer out of metal wire. This creates a fine powder that can be used in a 3D printer. Wires from newly developed alloys are supplied by Austrian partners, the team at FME takes care of atomization and verification of the suitability of the material for 3D printing. At present, magnesium alloys in powder form are only available from the USA and are not only expensive but also subject to export restrictions. Thanks to the atomizer, which cost about three million CZK, the joint Czech-Austrian development of new materials can be fully launched.
More about the project here.