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Laser-Directed CVD 3D Printing of Refractory Metal Rocket Propulsion Hardware, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

In this project, Ultramet will develop a three-dimensional (3D) laser-directed chemical vapor deposition (CVD) additive manufacturing system to build free-form refractory metal structures for liquid rocket propulsion systems. By combining Ultramet's decades of experience in refractory metal deposition by CVD with the computer control of directed laser energy, nearly unlimited expression of part shape and metal alloy composition can be realized for next-generation rocket propulsion component fabrication. 3D additive manufacturing is currently revolutionizing many industries by offering unconstrained complex build geometries, reduced cost, reduced lead time, and reduced material usage compared with conventional manufacturing techniques. By developing laser CVD technology for refractory metals, Ultramet will bring these inherent benefits to a class of materials that are notoriously difficult to form and thus are expensive to implement. By depositing successive layers of metal directly from reactive parent gases, the system will be able to build components from rhenium, tantalum, niobium, tungsten, and their alloys with complex internal features and assembly part count reductions. In this project, Ultramet will design and build the required laser-directed CVD reactor, achieve layered deposition, and map the process conditions for the formation of rhenium metal structures. More »

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