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World's First 3D-Printed High-Strength Aluminum

It's the first alloy of its kind to be printable.

Number 7A77.60L is now used for the printed alloy.
Number 7A77.60L is now used for the printed alloy.
HRL Laboratories

HRL Laboratories is commercializing its additively manufactured (3D-printed) high-strength aluminum, which has obtained the first ever registration of an additive alloy from the Aluminum Association.

HRL will be granted registration number 7A77.50 for the aluminum powder used to additively manufacture the alloy, and number 7A77.60L for the printed alloy.

The Aluminum Association oversees alloy registration and product standards used throughout industry. The association's new additive alloy registration system was launched in February 2019 in response to a growing number of additively manufactured alloys.

The first to be registered was HRL Laboratories' high-strength aluminum, the first alloy of its kind to be printable. (This breakthrough discovery was published in the journal Nature in September 2017.)

"Essentially, this will connect us to this particular alloy composition forever," said Hunter Martin, the lead scientist on the HRL team that created the alloy. "These alloy numbers will always be trackable back to HRL, like a DNA signature. When I first contacted the Aluminum Association about registering our alloy, they did not have a way to register alloys printed from powders, so they decided to create a new system for registration of additively manufactured materials - a first in the materials space."

Zak Eckel, another HRL team member said, "We're in the process of commercializing this material, which is already in high demand. As we scale up to commercial levels, AA registration validates our product. Companies who want the powder for their 3D printers can ask for its specific number, and it becomes a true commercial alloy."

As the aluminum industry's leading voice in the United States, the Aluminum Association provides global standards, statistics, and expert knowledge to manufacturers and policy makers.

Alloy and temper designations, chemical composition limits, and registered properties in North America adhere to those standards.

The association also provides business intelligence, sustainability research, and industry expertise and is committed to environmental considerations while advancing aluminum as the sustainable material of choice around the world.

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