Metal may have a new entry in the battle for super lightweight aircraft skins. General Electric received a U.S. patent June 17 for a powder metal sheet composition that could compete with plastic composites, such as those used in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or new Airbus wide-bodied aircraft. The GE sheet is made from a nickel-base superalloy having more than about 30 percent by volume of gamma prime phase, or an intermetallic such as a titanium aluminide. A GE spokesperson commented to Design News: “We have no plans at this time to introduce this into any product, but it offers GE the interesting option to use this for high temperature sheet material.”
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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