For the past two years, officials and teams from Formula 1 have negotiated to come up with a new set of regulations for the 2021 racing season. Among the many updates made to the Formula 1 2021 technical regulations is the approval of two additive manufacturing metal powders developed by Colorado-based Elementum 3D, A6061-RAM1 and A2024-RAM2.
The two high-strength aluminum alloys are compatible with additive manufacturing and boast superior performance compared to traditionally wrought alloys. Elementum 3D, which works at the cutting edge of AM material development, looking at metals, ceramics and composites, adapted the high-strength alloys for AM, something which had previously been challenging because of the metals’ tendency to hot tear during the solidification process, which led to compromised mechanical properties.
The key to Elementum 3D’s AM aluminum powders is its patented reactive additive manufacturing (RAM) process, which synthesizes nano-scale inoculants during the printing process, resulting in “a fine equiaxed grain structure with excellent properties.”
Both A6061-RAM1 and A2024-RAM2 have now been approved for use in the Formula 1 2021 season, which will enable F1 teams to exploit the agility and design freedom of additive manufacturing technologies. In fact, several of the changes made to the F1 regulations are part of a broader strategy to achieve economical sustainability without sacrificing the sport’s competitive drive. Additive manufacturing is one of the ways in which F1 organizers envision teams controlling costs while still innovating.
The Formula 1 technical regulations also list the following approved AM materials: AlSi10Mg, AlSi7MG, Al Cl-30AL, A20X, Scalmalloy, Titanium Grades 1 and 2, Ti6Al4V, Ti 5553, Ti 6242, Steel alloys 316, 304, MS1, 15-5PH, 17-4PH, 300M, 4140, Copper Alloys not containing Beryllium, Inconel 625, Inconel 718 and Cobalt-Chrome.
In recent news, Elementum 3D announced that Masten Space Systems, a California-based aerospace startup specialized in vertical takeoff and vertical landing rockets, successfully demonstrated an electric fuel pump 3D printed by Elementum 3D and from its A6061-RAM2 alloy.