New process targets improvements for manufacturing across several growing industries
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Most people may not realize it but they encounter products made with exotic or advanced metals every day.
The metals are used in aircraft, orthopedic components, medical instruments, cars, solar panels, military equipment, and other applications and are called advanced or exotic because they are more difficult to find and more costly to use in manufacturing.
But the conventional method of using advanced metals in manufacturing is high in cost, in part because they tend to be difficult to sculpture. Now, a new process for cutting these metals may help make them easier to use and lead to significant changes in the future of manufacturing. It’s a growing industry – the global metal fabrication market value is expected to reach $24 billion by 2024.
“What we have created is a new way to approach the machining of these metals that has the potential to change manufacturing system processes,” said Srinivasan Chandrasekar, a professor of industrial engineering in Purdue University’s College of Engineering. “Our solution is showing great promise in making these metals more affordable to manufacture and process by making them easier to machine.”
The Purdue team created a method for applying a designer surface-active agent – the name for a variety of chemicals used in metals processing – to the surface of a metal to make it easier to cut and shape the material into parts and pieces. The research is published in the January 10 issue of Physical Review Applied.